Tuesday, April 27, 2010


This cracked me up.

Though I must admit I have absolutely no idea what they are singing about.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lisa's Logbook - April 25

Had this all done on Sunday except the pic, so forgot to post it.

: Rainy day

Sounds: Kids arguing about who is making dinner

Home: Same old, same old

Projects: Soccer registration preparation - the dates are May 12 and 15 but there is much to do beforehand

Pondering: going to some live educational programs at the Pix

Teaching: enjoying using lots of educational videos - recent topics include the Incas, Amelia Earhart, eggs, King Arthur's Britain and more

Gratitude: Thankful for free high speed internet at a local library - saved me one day this week when my internet access was interrupted by a neighbor's error. Also thankful I was not billed for that error.

Recipes: Emily made one-bowl brownies today (Sunday) - delectable!

Duds: black yoga pants, grey long sleeved tee, grey sweatshirt, slippers

Reads: Emma by Jane Austen for book club (did not finish in time, but still going to finish)

Vids: Emma PBS series, Bringing Up Baby (old movie with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn), Karate Kid (1984), Love Happens (Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Aniston), starting to watch the Ken Burns National Parks DVD series

Hopes: that we can find an affordable refrigerator to replace our temperamental appliance

Love: watching my kids play soccer - they are so focused and athletic!

Plans: Teaching Spanish, Working 4 hours M-F, J & S soccer, Park Day, Ballet performance with the girls, homeschool support meeting


Top 100 Children's Novels

So which of these Top 100 Children's Novels have you read? I was surprised to find I had read 58, at least that I remember. I may have read more as a child that I don't recall. I put mine in bold.
100. The Egypt Game - Snyder (1967)
99. The Indian in the Cupboard - Banks (1980)
98. Children of Green Knowe - Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - DiCamillo (2006)
96. The Witches - Dahl (1983)
95. Pippi Longstocking - Lindgren (1950)
94. Swallows and Amazons - Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn - Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted - Levine (1997)
91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School - Sachar (1978)
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall - MacLachlan (1985)
89. Ramona and Her Father - Cleary (1977)
88. The High King - Alexander (1968)
87. The View from Saturday - Konigsburg (1996)
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Rowling (1999)
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek - Wilder (1937)
84. The Little White Horse - Goudge (1946)
83. The Thief - Turner (1997)
82. The Book of Three - Alexander (1964)
81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Lin (2009)
80. The Graveyard Book - Gaiman (2008)
79. All-of-a-Kind-Family - Taylor (1951)
78. Johnny Tremain - Forbes (1943)
77. The City of Ember - DuPrau (2003) - saw the movie!
76. Out of the Dust - Hesse (1997)
75. Love That Dog - Creech (2001)
74. The Borrowers - Norton (1953)
73. My Side of the Mountain - George (1959)
72. My Father's Dragon - Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning - Snicket (1999)
70. Betsy-Tacy - Lovelae (1940)
69. The Mysterious Benedict Society - Stewart ( 2007)
68. Walk Two Moons - Creech (1994)
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher - Coville (1991)
66. Henry Huggins - Cleary (1950)

65. Ballet Shoes - Stratfeild (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago - Peck (1998)
63. Gone-Away Lake - Enright (1957)
62. The Secret of the Old Clock - Keene (1959)
61. Stargirl - Spinelli (2000)
60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - Avi (1990)
59. Inkheart - Funke (2003)
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Aiken (1962)
57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 - Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars - Lowry (1989)

55. The Great Gilly Hopkins - Paterson (1978) - can't remember
54. The BFG - Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows - Grahame (1908)
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007) - have it from the library right now
51. The Saturdays - Enright (1941)
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins - O'Dell (1960)
49. Frindle - Clements (1996)
48. The Penderwicks - Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy - Curtis (1999)
46. Where the Red Fern Grows - Rawls (1961)
45. The Golden Compass - Pullman (1995)
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - Blume (1972)
43. Ramona the Pest - Cleary (1968)
42. Little House on the Prairie - Wilder (1935)
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Speare (1958)
40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Baum (1900)

39. When You Reach Me - Stead (2009)
38. HP and the Order of the Phoenix - Rowling (2003)
37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Taylor (1976)
36. Are You there, God? It's Me, Margaret - Blume (1970)
35. HP and the Goblet of Fire - Rowling (2000)

34. The Watson's Go to Birmingham - Curtis (1995)
33. James and the Giant Peach - Dahl (1961)
32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - O'Brian (1971)
31. Half Magic - Eager (1954)
30. Winnie-the-Pooh - Milne (1926)
29. The Dark Is Rising - Cooper (1973)
28. A Little Princess - Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II - Carroll (1865/72)
26. Hatchet - Paulsen (1989)
25. Little Women - Alcott (1868/9)
24. HP and the Deathly Hallows - Rowling (2007)
23. Little House in the Big Woods - Wilder (1932)
22. The Tale of Despereaux - DiCamillo (2003)
21. The Lightening Thief - Riordan (2005)
20. Tuck Everlasting - Babbitt (1975)
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Dahl (1964)
18. Matilda - Dahl (1988)
17. Maniac Magee - Spinelli (1990)
16. Harriet the Spy - Fitzhugh (1964)
15. Because of Winn-Dixie - DiCamillo (2000)
14. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Rowling (1999)
13. Bridge to Terabithia - Paterson (1977)
12. The Hobbit - Tolkien (1938)
11. The Westing Game - Raskin (1978)
10. The Phantom Tollbooth - Juster (1961) - David read it
9. Anne of Green Gables - Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden - Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993)
6. Holes - Sachar (1998)
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - Koningsburg (1967)
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter #1 - Rowling (1997)
2. A Wrinkle in Time - L'Engle (1962)
1. Charlotte's Web - White (1952)

This meme is from TeacherNinja and I first saw it on Our Busy Homeschool.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Learning Spanish for Free

My friend Michele posted a couple freebie Spanish links, so I thought I'd toss some out into cyberspace as well.

My Spanish 1 playlist from youtube (vids I have found and shared with my Spanish 1 students to reinforce class concepts)

I especially like tontitofrito's videos. I think if you watched them in order from start to finish, you'd have a whole year's instruction.

Free Spanish printable worksheets

The BBC's free Spanish learning program including 22 interactive episodes and tips to complete it in 12 weeks

Spanish Proficiency Exercises
from University of Texas at Austin (to evaluate yourself. Obviously the goal of learning a language is proficiency, not just taking the class.)

Social Language Learning Online
You can join and use all basic features for free: chat, flashcards, messaging, making friends, and more. If you want to learn with a language course, you can try a free option or pay for a premium course. You can learn for free with Basic courses 101, 102, 201 and 202.

That ought to give you some options to choose from. I have more links saved on my other computer, but too many choices sometimes muddy the waters, don't you think?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lisa's Logbook - April 18

Outside: cloudy and cold, but the wind has died down.

Sounds: preacher on the radio

Home: Bob still working on the fridge

Projects: Soccer registration - gotta get that nailed down and figured out. Oh yeah, I have a webinar to attend tonight on that very topic.

Pondering: the whole "church" thing. What to do? What to do?

Teaching: thinking about self-directed learning (I wrote a post about it, just prior to this one.)

Gratitude: that Bob found a nice bike for Emily at his store - she's THRILLED. It's purple.

Recipes: Hoping some of the kids will bake today

Duds: Pajamas, robe, slippers

Reads: Still listening to Diana Gabaldon's An Echo in the Bone on Playaway (and it's overdue and I can't renew it); Emma by Jane Austen for book club

Vids: Welcome to Paradise, Alice (miniseries with Tim Curry), Date Night, The Breakfast Club

Hopes: that I can actually finish Emma by Saturday. I haven't had any time to read anything but a few magazine articles.

Love: my homeschool co-op! This week marks the last session for this school year.

Plans: Teaching Spanish, Working 4 hours M-F, J & S soccer, Banquet, Keepers (E&S), Dissection class (D)


Self-Directed Learning?

Our home education has recently looked a lot different lately than it has in the past. I used to set up all the children's assignments for them every day. I haven't had time lately to oversee every bit of the learning as I had previously and I struggle with that reality, wondering if they are at a disadvantage now, if they would be better served in a traditional school, if children truly need adults to tell them everything they should be learning.

But I still balk at the idea of traditional school. I like having my kids at home. I like seeing what they are working on. They like being here. And I think that education can be more than me giving them lists of workbook pages to accomplish and choosing their books for them. But I'm not the nature-study-science-experiment-hands-on kind of teacher either. Never was, even when I taught school. I'm more pencil-and-paper, more books-and-internet.

So, what's the compromise? We've been trying to hit the right balance of self-directed learning. It hasn't quite happened yet. I am still struggling with it. What I WANT is them to love to learn things and love to read and love to write and love to spend their time in productive enterprises. And I see glimmers of it. But it's not as much as I'd like nor as rewarding as I thought. Maybe that's just life, eh?

Here are some things I've been looking at about self-directed learning.

Self-Directed Learning
From the Older Kids column, by Cafi Cohen, originally published in the May-June 1996 issue of Home Education Magazine.

Beach High School:
Freedom for self-direction

Life Learning Magazine

I'm trying to get a sense of what it looks like for other people, especially in the high school years. Isn't this when a student should find a passion? Something that grabs all his interest and that he wants to master? I want to see that happen. I'm tired of apathy and tired of "this is the stupidest book ever".

Any thoughts? Input?

Thursday, April 15, 2010


A couple bloggie friends did this meme and I haven't done one in a while, and I'm strung out from work, sooo......

1. never in my life have i been: to Florida

2. the one person who can drive me nuts is: sleeping in my bed ;-)

3. high school was: mostly forgettable

4. when i'm nervous: yell at people

5. the last song i listened to was: some 80's song on Pandora

6. if i were to get married right now, my maid of honor would be: someone who wouldn't be shocked at bigamy (since I am ALREADY married)

7. my hair is: rather dry in back and in need of a dye job

8. when i was 5: I could read very well.

9. last christmas: we weren't sure we could buy any gifts, but the Lord provided as He always does

10. i should be: doing my yearbook page.

11. when i look down i see: my jeans and bare feet

12. the happiest recent event was: spending the weekend with family

13. if i was a character on friends, i would be: NOT Phoebe, lol I'd probably be Ross. I didn't watch the show well enough to know if I could be Rachel or Monica. Though I'd love to have either of their hair or their figures. LOL

14. by this time next year i will be: SKINNIER

15. my current gripe is: My kids aren't on-board with my homeschooling plan and yes, Michele, not enough hours in the day to deal with it properly.

16. i have a hard time understanding: how kids can LOOK like they're listening, but they really aren't. Even if they've heard the same instructions 100 times before.

17. there's this girl i know that: taught me that I could be a runner girl just like her

18. if i won an award, the first person i would tell would be: my kids

19. take my advice: get fit NOW, don't wait.

20. the thing i want to buy: iPad (or is it just hype?)

21. if you visited the place i was born: you could see Lake Michigan

22. i plan to visit: my book club friend Kathleen on Saturday next

23. if you spent the night at my house: I'd put you in the fold-out couch and we'd watch movies into the wee hours - with chocolate, of course.

24. the world could do without: selfishness and greed - or are those the same thing?

25. most recent thing i bought myself: 2 pair of jeans and several shirts at the thrift store

26. most recent thing someone bought me: dinner and a movie (Thanks, Janet!)

27. my favorite blond is: Captain Wentworth

28. my favorite brunette is: Ranger

29. my favorite red head is: James Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser

30. my middle name is: Marie

31. in the morning i: get up and grab a cup of coffee and work for an hour before I even get dressed or brush my teeth

32. once at a bar: I almost.... well, I.... No. Don't think I'm going there. ;-)

33. last night i was: worked really late and then read a couple chapters of Emma

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Math "Switch"

Decided to switch all the kids to Switched-on Schoolhouse for math. Mainly this is a record-keeping choice. I just need to save time wherever I can and if SOS will grade math for me, that's one thing I don't have to figure into my day. It's the thing that always gets left behind anyway, when time is tight, and then I end up WAAAAAYYYY behind on it.

So, David and Emily have been taking the placement tests online and as soon as I can figure out how to add James and Suzy to my already-created account (should be easier than it is), they will take them as well. I assume Suzy will start with grade 3, but I have no idea where to put James or Emily.

I've enjoyed Math-U-See and still would use it in a perfect world. But in a world where the mom has to work 4-5 hours of every school day, that same mom has to go for time-saving procedures wherever possible.

I think I am also going to use SOS Science - Chemistry for David next year and someone gifted us with a 7th grade Science Emily is going to use. I may have James work through that one as well. Or I will get him another level if it's too difficult.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lisa's Logbook - April 11

Outside: Sunny and pleasant

Sounds: my sister talking on the phone, birds chirping outside the open door

Home: I'm not there!

Projects: Starting a new session of Spanish this week

Pondering: the nature and practice of friendship

Teaching: a new hymn this week and we're back to lessons as usual after a week of Spring break

Gratitude: that David can take a dissection class with someone other than me!

Recipes: Not much cooking.

Duds: Jeans, navy tee, beige socks, makeup and hair done

Reads: Still listening to Diana Gabaldon's An Echo in the Bone on Playaway (and it's overdue and I can't renew it); meant to start Emma last week, but didn't - need to THIS week.

Vids: Titanic National Geographic special, Law-Abiding Citizen, Alice in Wonderland, Sherlock Holmes

Hopes: to get through the week!

Love: Thrift stores

Plans: Teaching Spanish, Working 4 hours M-F, J & S soccer practices and first games

Pic: No pic, as I am not at home

Lisa's Logbook - April 4
Outside: Sunny, breezy, and around 70.Sounds: Monsters Vs. Aliens on TV in the other roomHome: Thinking about that second coat of yellow paint, a new roof (!), a new fridge, etc. etc. etc.Projects: Counting my calories Monday-Friday this week, redoubling my weight loss efforts to move toward my new goal by June 30, and starting running again this weekPondering: buying new running shoesTeaching: OK, the Couch to 5K will be THIS weekGratitude: That Jesus loves me sooooo much!Recipes: Cooking? Frozen pizza, sandwiches, canned soup, Hamburger Helper.Duds: Jean capris, navy tee, white socksReads: Listening to Diana Gabaldon's An Echo in the Bone on Playaway and getting ready to re-read Emma by Jane Austen for book club this monthVids: In the Land of Women, Where the Wild Things Are, Forever StrongHopes: hoping that really good shoes will help my sore feetLove: Staying up way too late all by myselfPlans: Teaching Spanish, Working 4 hours M-F, Art Class (E,J), Keepers (E,S), Dissection (D), Co-op and ProgramPic:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Passion Play

On Good Friday, I piled the kids into the van and headed for a Passion Play.

When I mentioned to David that we were going to a Passion Play, he narrowed his eyes at me and cocked his head to one side. "Not THAT kind of passion, David!" So, in case you and he are on similar trains (of thought), I'll explain that a Passion Play is a play about Jesus - his passion (trial, suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection).

So, off we headed - I wanted to get there early in case there was a long line. There wasn't though. The place wasn't even close to full - where were all of you? It was even FREE - can't get better than that?

So, we spent two hours on the afternoon of Good Friday watching actors portray major events in the life of Jesus. What a moving experience! I, of course, was in tears. (Since I even cry at commercials, it's rather a given that I'll be emotional watching Jesus drag the cross up the aisle.) But Emily also was very emotional. The others? Not so much, but I think it was good for them to see.

I think we'll make a point to see the production again next year.