Monday, March 30, 2009

God is Still Patient

John has been preaching on the patience of God, and this week's message was very helpful. His theme over the last few weeks has been this: as we get to know God, we will see our sin for what it is, and how largely it goes against the character and glory of God. As we get to know God and see our sin, we will begin to see just how patient God is with us, and this ought to lead us to repentance and love towards Him.

He used two illustrations from the bible to discuss the two main ways we tend to sin against God. First, John talked about how we, like the Israelites, are tempted to turn back or return to "Egypt" when things get difficult. Second, he talked about how we sin in the same way of the Israelites when they fashioned the golden calf; we are often guilty of adjusting God, making Him more reasonable, manageable, and like us. The Israellites did not say they were making a new god... they just said, "here is Jehovah." We tend to do the same thing by disregarding the Scriptures and placing our feelings or cultural traditions above what God says about Himself.

Are we going to give everything to Christ and allow Him to rule over every part of our lives? Or are we guilty (just as the Israelites decided to try to enter the promised land after saying it couldn't be done) of strapping on our swords and Christian books and church friends and charging ahead on our own... This is a recipe for destruction, just as the Israelites were destroyed. We never gain holiness without a price. First, we must come to Christ and then go to the battlefield.

We must look at the sin of Israel and realize we do the same thing... we adjust God and are tempted to stop short. The giants seem too big, temptations seem too great, and we are tempted to turn back. By doing this, we provoke Him.

BUT GOD is patient and doesn't let us go back to Egypt!

He endures the provocation of our fickle, blasphemous ways with (literally) infinite patience. When we see this, it gives us the desire to repent and lay all aside and follow Christ. What a wonderful Savior!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This Week

This week the girls got to go to the Father-Daughter Banquet with their dad. They had a great time getting dressed up, seeing friends, and enjoying a special evening. Friday we had school, and then Catherine came over to spend the night. Saturday morning, we all got up early and headed for Pontotoc. The girls ran the Pontotoc 5k (their first since November), and the boys went to the track meet with Scott.

The girls did very well, considering they hadn't run more than 20 minutes at a time. I don't think that either of them walked! Sarah ran a 30:52 and Hannah ran a 32:57.

I sat out of this one... On Wednesday I finally went to the doctor. Stress Fracture in the tibia was the ruling. I have a lovely giant black air cast/boot to wear for three weeks, and then I go back for a re-check.

It was great to see so many of my Spartans at the 5K. We all joked about them being homeschoolers and not getting out much; it was obvious how glad everyone was to see each other! It made me excited to start cross country in a few months!

Other than that, we had a pretty uneventful week. No crazy shennanigans (sp?) involving the chickens or other animals...

Josh-ism for the week: My mom had given him some Peeps (those nasty little marsmallow and food coloring shaped chickens), and he was asking for one. "Hey mom, can I have one of those little Pip Squeaks?"

(The doctor told me that the boot did not mean I could walk around all the time; he told me to sit and prop it up as much as I could... the children heard him say this.) So now, the most common saying heard at our house is, "Aww, Mom, SIT DOWN... Put up your feet! Let me do that for you!" Makes my heart melt like buddah...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Works for me... Lit. and Spelling

There are many reading lists available for picking out grade-level appropriate literature. I have found that the easiest thing for me to do is use the Veritas Press catalog as a guide. (If you do not get their catalog, I love it!)

Each grade level has a literature section with good, classic literature. Some books have study guides, but I usually just ask comprehension questions or assign a book report. (How to Report on Books is a good series published by Evan Moore.)

I will mention, however, that Veritas prices are not the lowest out there; I usually take the list and go to

As far as Spelling goes, I have not found anything that I just love. Programs seem to either go by commonly misspelled words or loosely follow phonics rules. Frankly, they all seem pretty random to me.

The Rigg's Institute has a list of "47 Rules of Spelling and Syllabication" that is used along with their materials. I think I am going to take the list and create a two year spelling program that involves learning the rules and list words that go along with each rule. Who knows, I may end up with a perfectly random spelling curriculum of my own...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cooped up!

My husband has chuckled each time he has walked by me for the last hour or so. Why?

I just spent 30 minutes locked in the chicken coop.

No, don't read that again... for real, no exaggerating, I was trapped in the coop for at least 20 minutes with 9 of our chickens and the free rooster.

We had dinner with some friends tonight, and it was too early to put up the chickens when we left home. My chicken tutor assured me that when it gets dark, chickens will go into their coop. Thinking we wouldn't be too late getting home, we left the door open and planned to lock them up when we got back. No sweat, right?

Well, Scott went to "just shut the coop door" while I put the kids to bed. He still wasn't back in the house after everyone was in bed, so I went out to check on him. The chickens had all decided to roost on some lumber behind their coop, and he had carried them all into the coop except the rooster. I helped him herd Chanticleer into the coop, and Scott said, "Well, I think that's all of them." Worried about predators, I went inside to do a bedtime head count. I kept coming up one short.

Our flashlight was dying. OF COURSE it was... If you only knew about all of the flashlight troubles we have at our house... keeping a working flashlight is almost as difficult as making sure all of the socks have matches coming out of the dryer! (But that's another story...)

Scott headed back to the house to find some new batteries while I stayed to hunt around with the equivalent of a taper candle. Before he was even in the house, I realized that we had a powerful shop light and an extension cord coming from the house. Feeling quite self-satisfied, I took my glaring light into the coop to count again, just to make sure I hadn't missed anyone.


The door closed right behind me. This usually wouldn't be a big deal... chickens don't have opposable thumbs, and they wouldn't normally need to open the door to their coop from the inside. However, it meant I was trapped! Yes, trapped in a quite smallish space with a rooster and 9 chickens. Yes, there were definitely only 9... I had plenty of time to count!

I gave them some food, petted a few of them, picked one or two up... I was even wishing for that toenail polish... and finally I started wondering, "Where in the WORLD has my husband gone?"

I knew he was on the other end of the house, but I thought maybe the girls would hear me through their window. I began yelling for help, but I kept on laughing... both at my predicament and at the degree to which I was stirring up the chickens every time I hollered! Finally, he returned... both very impressed that I had a light and quite tickled at my location.

We found our missing chicken, restored her to her flock, and headed home. Sheepishly, Scott admitted that he had become quite sidetracked inside and was in no hurry to get back out there... I am glad he didn't forget altogether!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Patience of God/ Our Zeal

John has been preaching about the patience of God, and last Sunday he preached a very convicting message. I have been reading in the book of Numbers, and as I have read, the theme of God's patience has been in technicolor to me. I am going to TRY to articulate the tangled web of things the Lord has been showing me, but tangled is an operative descriptive here.

It all began on Monday when I read the story of Phinehas in Numbers 25. I am not as much of an Old Testament scholar as many people in our church. Until this week, the name Phinehas evoked images of the Disney cartoon character, not a person zealous for God's honor.

The Lord expressly forbade the Israelites from marrying and fraternizing with other people groups. God isn't a snob; He just knows how sinful our hearts are (so much better than we do), and how easily we can be led astray. So, for the sake of His honor and love for his people, he wants them to be separate from the other nations. (In fact, many, many times He tells the Israelites not just to stay away, but to put to death these people.)

I haven't counted, but it would be interesting to find out how many times in the Old Testament the Israelites plunged into sin because of associating with Godless people. It would be just as interesting to count the times that God had patience with His children; either by staying judgement because of a person or small group's intercession, or by allowing them to be disciplined but not destroyed.

Back to Phinehas... Numbers 25 says, "While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the Lord was angry against Israel."

The Lord commands Moses to kill the leaders who are taking part of this, in order to turn away God's anger and to stop the idolatry. In the midst of this, a man has the nerve to bring a midianite woman into the camp and present her before his family and the congregation while everyone is still weeping in the tent of meeting.

Phinehas sees this, takes a spear and runs it through the man and the woman together.

Anger issues? Violent temper? NO! A zeal for the honor and holiness of God. This could be considered a good example of righteous anger!

In response to this action, God says to Moses, "Phinehas.... has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy."

So, God exercises forbearance (or patience) to the Israelites based on the correctly placed zeal of an individual.

WOW! I have been stuck on this all week, and it keeps coming up. My first thoughts were like these:
"How zealous am I?"
"Would I have done that?"
"Do I fellowship with the Lord in a way that would create that kind of a relationship?"

On Tuesday a friend of mine came to visit. I can't remember what we were discussing exactly, but she was talking about being accused of legalism in an area. She mentioned something to the effect of, "When we are called to FLEE from temptation, that doesn't mean back away slowly or dabble a little in it... it means FLEE!"

This is the part that is hard to articulate...

God did not want the Israelites to mix with other nations in order for them to be pure and devoted to Him in worship... God wants us to flee from temptation also, and we are called to NOT be like the world, so that we can be pure and devoted to Him in worship.

Is it logical to compare the world (that is, the culture around us that rages against the things of God and scripture...) to the other nations God warns the Israelites to stay away from?

The world around us might not make tangible altars and burn babies on them, worship cows, and other things that seem far fetched to us. However, as I think about it, it doesn't seem quite so far fetched. How many babies are being sacrificed by mothers who aren't ready to have children in the form of abortion? How many children are being given over to the day cares and government to be raised and taught because parents are hotly pursuing things that will rust and ruin in the end? Fornication, adultery, and all kinds of perversions are accepted as normal... and to oppose this is considered "hating."

If idolatry is elevating something to more important than God, then how many of us are in trouble? Sports, affluence, love, success... the list could go on. The "world" is opposed to the things of God.

Back to my previous question...Is it logical to compare the world (that is, the culture around us that rages against the things of God and scripture...) to the other nations God warns the Israelites to stay away from?

If so, God's patience should be clear to us. If this is a fair comparison, then it is obvious how God feels about consorting with the world. When God tells a people to kill even the women and children, He is serious about keeping his children from sin.

How many times do I allow myself to be distracted from seeking the Lord because of some worldy reason. Good grief, how many times is my heart cold because I am too busy keeping my house clean to humble myself and stop and seek the Lord? How many times do I get as close to that Midianite border as I can... rather than fleeing or destroying for the Lord's sake?

There is a sheet we received a long time ago titled, "The Pattern of Jesus of Nazareth: the Goal of My Life." The first thing on their is something to the effect of "Do I do everything with the goal of the PLEASURE of God in mind?"

I read this yesterday, and it made me examine my motivations. Am I :

being as much like the world as I can, while still not crossing into sin?
making decisions based on what would be the most pleasing to God?

To quote from The Princess Bride, "Let me splain... no, let me sum up..."
As I am seeing how God feels about Israel's relationship with other pagan nations in the Old Testament, his patience and kindness are amazing. Moreover, we can liken our relationship to the world with the relationship of Israel to idolatrous nations. God still feels the same way about sin; His patience and kindness toward us are equally amazing. In fact, I can think of no better motivation for repentance and close following.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This week

What a fun spring break week we are having!

Monday night was a real tall treat... literally! The boys and I got to go see the Harlem Globetrotters with two friends of mine, Meagan and Savannah. The boys (esp. Will) were captivated. They couldn't believe the antics like pulling down shorts at the free throw line and making backwards shots from half court! After the game, we went down for autographs and got to meet "Skyscraper." Hmmm... I wonder why they call him that...?! We are all standing on the same level here! He is 7'3"! That's like if Josh stood on my shoulders!

Today we got a special delivery.... 10 chickens... and a free rooster! Hooray, I am officially a farm wife, too! Will named his chickens Zelda and Big Mama... "after you, mom!"... "Thanks, Will!" We think that it was probably Big Mama who gave us our first egg this afternoon! Hannah named hers Nancy, Bess, and George (after Nancy Drew characters). Sarah has picked Pertolet (I am not sure about spelling) because we think that was the name of the favorite wife of Chanticleer. Sarah is still thinking about her other names. Josh named the rooster Chanticleer, and we are hoping that he doesn't get taken off by a fox! (or dog, or cat, or raccoon, or opossom, you get the point!)

The big question is, "How in the world are we ever going to know which one is which?" The girls want to use different colored toenail polish, but that means that I am going to be the one applying the polish... I am not so sure about this idea! Some friends of ours put glitter glue on theirs, and I am thinking this sounds a good deal less risky than painting the toenails of chickens!!!!

Josh-ism: Hannah tells him that he can pick the name for the rooster, and he replies, "hmmm... is it a boy or a girl?"

Sarah's comment for the week: We were discussing a field trip, and Sarah said, "It's too bad we don't have a school bus sitting around in our yard like a lot of people do... we could just take that."
Wow... a statement that gives away her surroundings! :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Works for me... Latin

"Why do we have to do Latin? Why can't we just learn Spanish?"

A question posed quite often in the Duley home, especially when it is time to study for Latin quizzes!

Mom's reply? "It will make you smarter... get to work!" While this actually IS my typical reply, it is not the whole answer (and my children know this).

We have chosen to do Latin with our children for several reasons. Latin is the root language for the romantic languages, and when we do get around to Spanish and French, they will find it much easier to pick up. It is interesting to compare the languages across the board and see how the words are often similar to the Latin word. English words often have Latin roots, and a knowledge of Latin and figuring out derivatives can help students in vocabulary skills. The goal of our education is not to do well on the SAT, but apparently Latin does help. You know... "problem solving skills and critical thinking!" (I had to throw in those catchphrases!) On a more practical note, they will have an easier time with vocabulary as they "broaden their minds with extensive reading." AND... they will be able to have intelligent, multi-syllable conversations as teenagers!

OBVIOUSLY, I am being silly, and I do not think you have to learn Latin in order to have an intelligent conversation... no comments on that score, please! :)

We have used two different Latin programs, because we left Kentucky and joined the co-op here in Mississippi. In Kentucky, we used Prima Latina (Memoria Press), a K-3 Latin program which leads into Latina Christiana I and II. Initially I chose this program because it had DVDs that I could watch with the kids (I have no Latin background). We would watch the teacher go through the lesson together, and then I understood the grammar and pronounciation of things. However, I realized that the DVDs were not even necessary, because the lessons were so clearly laid out and well organized.

The co-op here uses the Latin Primer series. They feel like the classical pronounciation of the language is best, rather than the ecclesiastical pronounciation. Apparently, Latin was probably spoken according to the classical, but over time the church has used (and still uses) the ecclesiastical. I have learned a lot through this series, and have taught Latin I the past two years. However, it is a good thing I found the videos at a yard sale, because I SURE wouldn't have known what to do or say just from the teacher manual! It is not easy to follow or teach from, and you have to flip all through the book and go digging for information... and even then things are not clearly explained. If a person had a background in Latin, it might be no problem, but I have pestered poor Nita Fradenburg to death with Latin grammar questions over the last two years!

Needless to say, next year we are going to return to the Memoria Press series. William will be in the Prima Latina book, and I am trying to decide what to do with the girls. I will probably have Sarah do Latina Christiana I, because I would rather be sure that she has mastered the basics. Latina Christiana I would probably be too easy for Hannah, and I will likely do II with her. On a selfish note, it would be easier to have her just repeat Latina Christiana I, have an easy year, and get the girls both on the same page. That way, we could do Latina II the next year, and THEN move on into Spanish. This idea does not appeal to my over-achiever first born, though, and I sure would hate to be guilty of "dumbing down" against her wishes, for the sake of my convenience! (Isn't that ONE of the reasons I am doing this, anyway?)


This is the funniest 5 minute summary of what it means to live in a rural part of the South. I don't know how to post you tube videos, so here is the LINK to the clip from another girl's blog. This performance was on our Tupelo morning show... Keep in mind that we live 10 miles outside New Albany, which is a MUCH smaller town than Tupelo, and New Albany is about 25 miles away from Tupelo....

Maybe I was in a silly mood, but I thought it was too funny for words.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Catching up

Last Friday night our good friends Anthony Mathenia and Hannah Wright were married. It was a beautiful ceremony, the first in our unfinished sanctuary. Who knew that a construction zone could be so wonderfully transformed into a wedding chapel, sparkling with Christmas lights and fragrant with fresh flowers?! Hannah looked like a picture from an antique postcard... very classic and beautiful! I just saw that Anthony has updated his blog with pictures and all, so check it out for more details!

Because of the wedding, some of our friends from Ohio were in town. I have mentioned Kurt's blog before... My friend Tobey is such a sweet blessing to me, and I always look forward to any time we can spend together. I am thankful that the weather cooperated while they were here; we all got to enjoy some good spring sunshine! (our kids and the Strassners)

On Saturday, my girls and two friends threw a surprise birthday party for their friend Catherine. Josh tried his best to ruin the surprise, but fortunately, she never got the hint! The girls had gone to great lengths to decorate, bought snacks with their own money, had a cake, and everything! Catherine was really sweet and appreciated all of their hard work. They finished the afternoon off by "swimming" (really wading) in the creek and playing in the mud! Gotta love a Mississippi girl!
(Ruth, Hannah, Catherine, Sarah, Sarah)

Speaking of Mississippi... something very funny (well, it is funny now) happened the other day. Scott was on the tractor discing up the bottom field, when the tractor hit a boggy spot. It skidded and then got stuck. When Scott was trying to get it out, something happened and it just sank!

Hannah exclaimed, "Wow! I have never been taller than a tractor before!"

It was that bad.... we had to call a tow truck to pull it out!

Today we have Ellie and Isaac here visiting (Anthony and Hannah's children) for the day. If I had to pick one word to describe Ellie, it would be exuberant. She has an endearing personality... I have already heard (in the last 3 minutes) about her trip to her Mimi's, falling down the stairs at the Blassingames', throwing up in Ethiopia, and how much she is looking forward to giving Hannah big hugs and making cookies with her in the little house! Precious!
Isaac tends toward the opposite end of the spectrum. Apparently, he is not this way at home, but at our house he is usually very contemplative. For example, he has (in the same last 3 minutes) been meticulously studying individual cheerios before eating them one at a time. He is a cuddler, though, and I don't get enough of that anymore! (Ellie, Hannah, Isaac)

Friday, March 6, 2009

no amputation necessary

This will be the last time I will dedicate an entire post to griping about my leg! I have been going back and forth over the best course of treatment... do I massage it... rest it only... spin class (yes/no)... ice or heat... and also, DO I NEED TO SEE A DR.?

I made an appointment with the ortho doctor in New Albany today, but they told me it was going to be $200 just to walk in the door! Yikes! I was on my way home from Excelsior, thinking about maybe just going to our chiropractor and asking his opinion, when I remembered a physical therapy place in Sherman...

My friend Roan did rehab there, and they hosted the Sherman Days 5k this fall.

The Dr. was very nice... and a runner! I stopped in just to ask if they saw (in a diagnostic way) athletes, or if he thought I should keep my appt. with the ortho doctor. He was very nice, and just told me to come on in. He palpated my leg, and asked a bunch of questions. His opinion was that I should not worry about going to the doctor. He was pretty confident that the injury is in the muscle, and gave me several suggestions.

1. Load up on advil
2. Go for a 18 mile run tommorrow... (ha ha, just kidding!)
2. Keep resting for another week, but spin (w/light resist) is ok.
3. aggressive stretching with this calf stretcher device
4. Wear shoes with heels! :) He said it takes the pressure off the injured part of my calf.
5. When I start back running, start off lightly... not back to business as usual

Good news: He thinks I will be able to do the half in Nashville... but probably won't set a PR!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Painful Decision and Josh-ism of the day

Since I ran the half marathon at the end of January, my calves have been very sore. In fact, over the past few weeks things have gone beyond sore and progressed to injury. When I finished my fifteen miler a few weeks ago, I had to hobble around for a few days, and by that Thursday I could tell that my leg was borderline injured. I took a week off and stayed in spin class, and it started feeling much better. In fact, it only twinged when I walked, and I NEEDED to get some kind of long run on Saturday... so I did what every sensible runner would do... I ran 10 miles.

Look where my common sense has gotten me! I am typing this post with my leg stuck down in a kitty litter bucket full of mostly ice and a little water!The ten miles put me back to where I was before I took a week off... maybe a little worse. Scott hates to see me "gimping" around the house, and he has extracted a painful (literally) decision from me. I am not going to set my mind toward the full marathon in April. Instead, I am going to let my leg heal and hope to be in good enough shape to run the half.

I realize that this is a no-brainer for most people, and the angst I am suffering might seem a little silly for some people. I realize it comes down to pridefulness... being too proud to quit, being proud in thinking I don't want to run if I can't run well, being too proud to realize maybe my joints just don't need to undergo 26 miles of pounding... even if it IS something I have always wanted to do!

Anyway, I hope that if I take 2 weeks off running and spin class (limping and spinning are aggravating my I-T band), I will still have a good 6 weeks to get back in shape for the half.

JOSH-ISM for the day: I told the boys to settle down and quit acting like wild indians... Josh responded, "Mom, we are not wild indians, we are wild white men!"

Josh-ism/confession of a grouchy mama for the day: (I have my foot in the bucket of ice still) Josh just said, "Mom, when you are hurting, do you get aggravated?" My reply? "Yes, Josh, PLEASE get away from the bucket!"

Sunday, March 1, 2009

works for me... phonics

Wow, this is a whole 'nother can of worms with no simple answer. We have used so many different phonics curricula, it is crazy!

When Hannah was in kindergarten, we used "Teach Your Child .... 100 Easy Lessons" and the Explode the Code workbooks. This worked very well, and Hannah was (is) a natural speller.

No problem... I am a great teacher, right!? NOT EXACTLY!!!

Sarah came next. We started 100 Easy Lessons and made it all the way up to where they take out all of the phonetic helps. All of a sudden, it was like she was reading a completely different language! At this point, we backed WAY up and started over. Same thing again.

This time? We changed over to Sing, Spell, Read, and Write. A friend of mine in Kentucky used it, and I thought maybe we should do something a little more colorful and fun. S,S,R,&W was colorful, fun, and worked great until we got to the point of adding the silent final e. Once again, we backed way up and started over again. At almost the same place the second time we ran into the same problem!

I had already begun to panic... Hindsight being what it is, I wish I had just waited a year or so longer before I had started anything at all!... After doing S,S,R,&W for the second time, I really got worried.

Things became a little more clear when Scott's dad mentioned out of the blue that Scott's younger brother had a serious case of dyslexia, he (Scott's dad) had dyslexia, and that Scott hadn't learned to read until he was in the third grade! We decided to have Sarah tested. The results were inconclusive, in that the testers said there was not enough of a discrepancy between her IQ and grade level performance in order to classify her as dyslexic. However, they also said that they noted dyslexic tendencies during her testing. The testers felt that if she had been in the public school system rather than learning in a one-on-one situation, there WOULD have been enough of a discrepancy. It's not every day that you get such a nice compliment from a panel of public school employees!

I madly began researching dyslexia, and I hit on the Rigg's Institute program of teaching reading. I ordered it, and had great success with Sarah. The program is very intensive and rather time consuming if you follow all of the lessons. It is based on the 71 different phonemes in the English language. You learn the different sounds by seeing them, saying them, writing them, and then reading them back to the teacher. For example, I hold up a card with "ea" on it, and Sarah says, "EE, Eh, Ay." Then she writes the spelling pattern, and we move on. After we finish, she goes back through and reads all that she has written to me. It is too complicated to explain sufficiently in one blog post, but IT WORKED!!!! Sarah is now reading books on grade level, according to the Veritas press literature suggestions!

Last school year, we came back to Mississippi and began Excelsior, our co-op. Will's class was using Veritas Press Phonics Museum, and I also continued to do the Rigg's materials (on a lighter scale) with him. I DO NOT recommend the Phonics Museum, although I would still recommend 100 Easy Lessons or Sing, Spell, Read, & Write. I don't know how to explain it, other than it seemed like Veritas was trying too hard to come up with a phonics program that fit into the classical mode. The readers were about great subjects, but they had to so change the rhetoric in order to make it go along with the phonics lessons, that Will had no idea what the words were talking about! For example, a reader might say, "the rig was set to..." instead of, "the boat was ready to sail." At that age, there is something to be said for "the cat sat on the hat." Also, the workbook does not use ball and stick letter formation, and I often had to say the names of the pictures.

This year, the co-op switched to the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. It is OK, but I much prefer the Rigg's material, and that is what I am using with Joshua. If you have a child almost ready to begin reading, I highly suggest looking into the Rigg's materials, even if you only incorporate the 71 phonics cards.

Okay, so I think Abeka and Saxon are about the only two we HAVEN'T used! (I forgot to mention the Pathway readers I used with the girls and Phonics Pathways that I tried with Sarah also!) I feel like we have finally found something that "Works for Us!" Gee, I am on my last child, too... maybe we should adopt a few, just so I can put this info to good use!

Works for Me... Math

We use the Math-U-See math curriculum, and up to this point, I have been satisfied with it. I am always tempted by catalogs and things that others are using, but this is one area in which I would like to remain consistent... at least until we begin pre-algebra and algebra.

Math U See is different in that it primarily focuses on one thing each year, and each week adds in review from previous years. For example, first graders learn addition and subtraction facts, second graders learn multiple digit addition and subtraction with regrouping, third graders learn multiplication, and fourth graders learn division.

The program very strongly suggests that students not move on until the lesson/ facts are mastered. I feel that this fits in with the classical M.O., because it stresses memorizing the facts. However, it is not only rote memorization... the students learn with manipulative blocks. The theme of Math U See is "build it, say it, write it," thus using several different learning styles.

The yearly kit comes with a student book, teacher manual, and DVD. This was the big appeal for me... I have a hard time communicating basic math concepts, and when I watch the DVDs with the kids, "Mr. Steve" gives me the catch phrases to use. The cost for a new year's worth of material is $55 (I think), and the workbook for a set of DVDs we already have is $20.

If you have any students older than sixth grade, I would love to hear about which math you use and why!
First of all, you must totally be merciful and not remark about the Christmas lights that are STILL up on my roof line! I know, I know... I will do that THIS WEEK! :)

It is the beginning of March, and we woke up to an inch of snow this morning! The girls were up and outside before 8:00, but the boys slept in a little. Hannah had her fill of snow fairly quickly, but Sarah stayed outside for quite a while. Her first snowman (well, what we consider a snow man here in Mississippi!) fell and broke, but this is her second try!

I have mentioned before that Josh is out of his mind without nerve endings... this is clearly evidenced in this picture! He had a blast throwing snow around and playing!