Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bible Study Guide for All Ages

Yesterday marked a milestone at Cornerstone Academy. We completed the last lesson of The Bible Study Guide for All Ages. This curriculum, in four volumes, has been our Bible curriculum since I started teaching David, way back when he was five or six. (He's fourteen now!)

We've taken breaks throughout the years. We've tried other things - both out of a "grass must be greener" attitude and out of a need to change gears for a time. But we always return to this incremental study of the whole Bible.

Each volume has 104 lessons. Books from both the Old Testament and New Testament are covered in each volume and by the end of the four volumes, every book of the Bible has been covered. There is no denominational slant, but the vocabulary in the questions uses the KJV. We use the NIV, though, and usually have no difficulties.

The lessons give a reading assignment, usually 1 or 2 chapters, and review questions. Also included are map work, song suggestions, memory work, and more. We have gotten away from doing the extras in the interest of time, but they are worthwhile. There are visual pages included which I usually copy for coloring pages. Sometimes I use coloring pages off the internet instead, or from a coloring book.

Usually when we "do Bible", I have the kids take turns reading aloud. Usually David and Emily read 10-12 verses and then narrate back to me what they read. James reads less, usually 3-6 verses, and also narrates. Suzy isn't reading yet, but I do require her to listen and answer questions. She may color while she does it. James also likes to color and I sometimes allow it. David and Emily are supposed to follow along in their Bibles while someone else reads. If there is more reading after everyone has taken a turn, I finish the reading aloud. Usually our Bible lesson, including songs and prayer, is about 45 minutes long and we aim to start every day this way. (We aren't always successful! lol)

The curriculum offers student pages, which I tried out once, but didn't keep up with. They are expensive, in my opinion, and we didn't need them. I might offer the kids the option to use them again, as we do plan to go back through the study over the next four years. I definitely will have the older kids do the mapwork and timeline. We'll do all of the memory aids this time through as well.

I'd also like to use the Betty Lukens flannel figures that I bought several years ago, painstakingly cut out, and then barely used. Are the kids too old? I hope not!

James and Suzy weren't even born when we began the curriculum and I'd like David and Emily to have the opportunity to go through the Bible again with the teenage perspective. I'll need to be a bit more diligent with planning the lessons so that we can get through them in David's four years of high school, but it's easily do-able. With 180 "school days" and only 104 Bible lessons in each volume, that leaves plenty of time for a supplemental study or days with no Bible study.

If you are looking for a bare-bones study that covers the whole Bible, this is it. If you are looking for a full-fledged Bible curriculum with bells and whistles, this is it too. I've never seen a more flexible, yet thorough curriculum that covers the entire Bible. I can't wait to go back through it!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - April 27

For Today... April 27, 2009

Outside my window... The grass is green and growing! There are buds on the trees. And I see Dandelions! And a robin!

I am thinking... that I'm hungry and I should eat something. Also about a possible job opening that was mentioned to me yesterday.

From the learning rooms... Friday's lessons are happening today instead since we went garage saling on Friday. This is the last week of the month, so I have one more month of lessons to do before lessons "end for the summer". Which they don't really.

I am thankful for... Not losing our power during the storm. Getting our cable internet service BACK from the 22 hour outage!

From the kitchen... Oh crud, someone probably expects me to make food this week. Today, even.

I am wearing... Jeans, SHORT-sleeved black stretchy t-shirt under a light green Tee with Legolas on it. BARE FEET.

I am reading... Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson (but I'm only 70 pages in and it's dull. Thinking about putting it aside.) Also going to finish A Thousand Splendid Suns this week.

I am hoping... to jump back into editing Mystery Valley Ranch today, as well as send out some query letters for Forget-me-not.

I am creating... Nothing comes to mind.

I am hearing... Suzy scuffing across the carpet, someone shuffling papers, a truck going by outside.

Around the house... The water heater pilot light went out due to water in the basement, so we have no hot water at present. A load of laundry is being hung on the clothesline right now.

One of my favorite things... 17 Again! (If anyone wants to go see it, I'll go with you! Yes, even you, Jen! LOL)

A few plans for the rest of the week... Lessons & Writing Monday-Thursday, Park Day on Friday, Soccer games T/Th/Sat, a movie night with friends Monday, going to see WOLVERINE Thursday night.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...James found a frog and Suzy was not the least bit afraid of carrying it around.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Fill-in #121

ffi we go!

1. Apparently there's some sort of conspiracy.

2. What a beautiful sunny day!

3. 2009 is going well so far.

4. I said I would and that was it.

5. For too long I've been trying to spread myself too thin, like butter scraped over too much bread.

6. I am not obsessed with that kid from High School Musical; I am not! (OK, maybe I am.)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to having a friend over to watch Robin Hood on BBC, tomorrow my plans include coaching soccer, watching soccer, and going to Book Club and Sunday, I want to relax!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Yesterday the weather here was very odd. We had everything from sunshine to rain to hail. I took photos and videos of the hail.

You can see the hail coming down in this video.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Today's science topic was complete and incomplete metamorphosis, so I turned my current youtube obsession into a helpful tool for learning. Here's what we watched. Hope you find it interesting as well!

Oh wait, how'd that last one get in there? My bad. :-)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - April 20

For Today... April 20, 2009

Outside my window... Rain falling on wet pavement, but the grass is far greener than last week! And my two youngest kids walking around in the rain, wearing boots, coats, and hats.

I am thinking... that I need to redouble my efforts with exercise and eating right. Starting with Sisterweekend, I've been limping along. Today, starting again fresh!

From the learning rooms... a late start today, but five days scheduled for lessons this week.

I am thankful for... Cuddle time with my kids.

From the kitchen... Going to make the Easter ham today. Yeah, I know it's not Easter.

I am wearing... my jammies and robe. Oh, and I am wearing bright pink polish on my fingernails and toenails. And a nail jewel! (Did nails with my daughters yesterday.)

I am reading... STILL reading Daniel Deronda by George Eliot for book club. I need to finish listening to A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini) on audiobook. Reading A Bear Called Paddington to the kids at lunchtime.

I am hoping... that it's rainy and cold tomorrow so I can cancel soccer practice. Oh wait, did I type that for all the world to see? Whoopsie.

I am creating... a boatload of excuses.

I am hearing... The sump pump, people eating cereal, raindrops, a car swishing by on the wet pavement, Bob talking to David and Emily

Around the house... Two vases of daffodils, the new digital converter box for our TV, paperwork for David's camp week, a to-do list

One of my favorite things... Word Twist on facebook.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Lessons and work every day. Soccer games Tues/Thurs/Sat and a practice Tuesday. A meeting Monday night and Book Club on Saturday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
These are the displays (fronts and backs) for the two co-op classes that I taught over the past year. Glass Slipper (Cinderella Stories Around the World) and Written and Illustrated By (in which each child wrote, illustrated, and bound his or her own book.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Friday Fill-in #120

ffi we go!

1. Join me in saying goodnight to the children.

2. Put a little SINGING in your day!

3. Happiness is the last day of co-op!

4. I thought I knew how to do it, but I ended up angry and confused.

5. I'm waiting for a revelation.

6. Facebook is hard to resist.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to the co-op program and watching a movie, tomorrow my plans include coaching one soccer game and watching another and Sunday, I want to watch my kids participate in the Rain Gutter Regatta and then regroup for the week ahead!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Real Watercolors

I read once about using "real" art supplies rather than supplying children with cheap paints (like the ones at right) and other media. Have you ever noticed how frustrated kids can get when their paintings don't come out as they had hoped, through no fault of their own? Or how flimsy the cheap crayons are?

When I first read about giving kids the proper materials, I was reluctant at the thought. Won't they treat them badly? Won't they destroy anything nice? Well, perhaps, but their satisfaction in being able to create with responsive media may be worth it.

So, I went out in search of affordable watercolor paints. Why did I start there? I no longer remember. I was in a Charlotte Mason phase and reading nature journalling books, so that was likely the reason. Whatever it was, I came home with some small boxed watercolor kits, intended to take along on hikes, and eventually added some tube watercolor paints and some palette trays, along with some nicer (but still low-cost) brushes.

Several years have passed since that first exploration into "real" art materials and I haven't been sorry. We are nearly to the end of our second set of tube paints. I paid about $10 on sale at Meijer for the set of Reeves paints. Better brands are available at art stores, should you feel the desire to splurge, but for us, spending $10 on an adequate set of paints that will last a couple years is far better than spending $1 or so on those useless paint sets we all remember from our childhood. (The name brand ones (Prang, Crayola) DO work better than some of the off-brand ones, but in my experience, the REAL paints are far more effective.)

I encourage you to give it a try. For a small $20 investment, you can allow your children the freedom to enjoy working with materials that are far more versatile and potent than anything they may have used so far. Maybe I'll see you in the store! We need a new set of tube paints and some new brushes soon! (Mine are looking a bit squeezed out, don't you think?)

My favorite arts and crafts supplier is Miller Pads and Paper. They don't appear to carry Reeves, but they do have a nice selection. Here is a sampling of what they have available:
Jackson's Professional Tube Watercolors 12 colors $9.95 18 Colors $13.95.
Marie's Tube Watercolor Sets 12 colors $6.25 18 Colors $9.75.
Niji Tube Watercolors 12 colors $5.00 18 Colors $8.00
And LOTS MORE watercolor stuff - check them out!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mark Twain: On Reading

Thought for the day:

The man who
does not read
good books
has no advantage
over the man
can't read them.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - April 13

For Today... April 13, 2009

Outside my window... Overcast skies, grass getting a teensy bit greener, the neighbor guy and his son shooting baskets at their new basketball hoop.

I am thinking... about taxes. Ours are finally filed! Thank you, Lord!

From the learning rooms... the absence of lesson plans for the rest of the month (except David's; they're complete). I need to do THAT today too.

I am thankful for... the opportunity to earn some income. Lord, please multiply it to meet our needs!

From the kitchen... the cake Suzy decorated at girls club is sitting on the counter, as well as a bunch of Easter candy. I MAY make the ham today or we may go out to dinner (as a reward for clean rooms).

I am wearing... comfy jeans, black long-sleeved shirt under an apple green flannel shirt. Yep, it's cold.

I am reading... Reading Daniel Deronda by George Eliot for book club. I need to finish listening to A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini) on audiobook. Also perusing bit by bit a book by America's Cheapest Family - the Economides. Going to start reading The Great Brain or maybe A Bear Called Paddington to the kids at lunchtime; I didn't read aloud at all last week.

I am hoping... that my job performance has improved and keeps improving so I can get the bonus pay (and not get fired! lol) I also hope to help Bob with some job applications and to get back to the query letters for Forget-me-not.

I am creating... lesson plans, income tax returns, and not much else.

I am hearing... the thump of the basketball across the street, an audiobook playing upstairs - the narrator has an English accent, Bob sighing across the room

Around the house... the kids are cleaning their rooms today. The boys have undertaken a huge project of redoing beds and such. They say they have a lot more room up there!

One of my favorite things... Watching my kids play soccer!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Easter break ends today, so we will have lessons Tues-Thurs. Friday is co-op and the Spring Program. I will work every day except Friday. Soccer practices Tues/Thurs and games on Sat. Boys have Chess Club, I think. It's the LAST Pioneer Club this week and Sunday they have a Raingutter Regatta.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
It's poor sickly James lounging on the couch engrossed in Star Wars: Renegade Squadron on the PSP. He spent most of Spring Break under the weather.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Fill-in #119

ffi we go!

1. Anonymous...I agree with you. I didn't do the last two Friday Fill-ins, because they were not amusing to me. However, I wouldn't have stated my opinions quite so rudely as you appeared to think appropriate. (If you don't "get it", go read the Friday Fill-in blog.)

2. Test scoring is a bear. (I'm scoring online tests for extra income.)

3. Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, cakes that don't rise. (Huh? This one was odd.)

4. Bird songs, blue skies, white puffy clouds, and flowers: what I look forward to most about Spring.

5. Who needs therapy when the Bible has all the answers we need.

6. Chocolate bunnies and jelly beans MUST go into the Easter Basket!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching Bedtime Stories, tomorrow my plans include dyeing eggs with the kids, scoring more tests, and cleaning house and Sunday, I want to go to an Easter breakfast at church, attend a Resurrection service, maybe walk with the family and, of course, score more tests!

Happy Easter to ALL!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Spring" break and getting it all

It's Spring Break here at Cornerstone Home Learning. To usher in the week of "Spring" Break, six inches of wet packy snow fell on Monday and more snow joined it on Tuesday. James got sick on Monday and Suzy thought it looked fun apparently, so today she joined the ranks of the unhealthy children. James is still sick. The snow has all melted now and it was warm and lovely today, but due to my two ill darlings and my new (temporary) online job scoring tests, I didn't really get to enjoy it. Ah well, such is life.

I thought I'd share a tip with you. Do you throw away tubes and bottles when the contents are hard to dispense? I used to, but now I nip off the end with scissors and cut down the side if necessary to wipe out the remainder by hand. There's always a LOT left and I can get another week's (or more!) usage out of what might have been trash. See how much is left in that bottle? There's more in the bottom you can't see. Thrifty, eh?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - April 6

For Today... April 6, 2009

Outside my window... SNOW! Again! And a LOT of it!

I am thinking... about my left foot. It hurts. The top of it, not the bottom. Also wondering when I should get groceries and if I can finagle a trip to Target to buy the Bolt DVD for 13.99. Anyone going to Target?

From the learning rooms... It's Spring Break!

I am thankful for... the determination to lose weight.

From the kitchen... Bob is making macaroni and cheese for lunch. I'll have soup. The girls need to make cakes for their club meeting tomorrow night. They will be doing cake decorating.

I am wearing... navy lounge pants, long-sleeved grey t-shirt, my fleece robe, and slippers (Well, that's what I WAS wearing when I started writing this.)

I am reading... Reading Daniel Deronda by George Eliot for book club. Listening to A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini) on audiobook. Also slowly perusing a book on 100 great vacations around the world. Going to start reading The Great Brain or maybe A Bear Called Paddington to the kids at lunchtime. (Hey, that's the same as last week!)

I am hoping... The snow melts quickly. Supposed to be in the 50's by Thursday.

I am creating... letters to send out to my soccer players about practice and games.

I am hearing... James whining that I won't let him go out right now because we are getting ready to eat lunch.

Around the house... I dragged out all the stuff I have stashed away for sale - mostly books. Need to make it disappear.

One of my favorite things... Youtube!

A few plans for the rest of the week... No Lessons! It's Spring Break! Working (scoring essays) Mon-Fri whenever I can find time, Tuesday we are going to a friend's house for Movie Day and the girls have Keepers club, Friday Bob has a job counseling appt at Michworks, Weekend plans are still up in the air. Maybe the free matinee Saturday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...