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Friday, January 25, 2019

Weekly Recap: With Come, Follow Me 2019

Oops. I wrote this in early January, and forgot to publish it. Here it is a couple of weeks late!

My kids are awesome! For months and months I've been talking about moving bedrooms so that M's room would also be her exercise room. It was her exercise room and the playroom. But there were so many toys in there that I haven't wanted to start. M asked if she could start! I said yes and she proceeded to motivate her siblings to help. It took them about a week, and they did such a great job! Their rooms are organized, M doesn't have to worry about anyone leaving a mess in her exercise area, and everyone loves the new arrangements. The best part is that I only had to give final approval and help move bed frames.

We celebrated on New Year's Eve with our traditional pigs in a blanked made with Little Smokies. We also had spinach artichoke dip with celery and cucumbers. The kids watched three movies, some fell asleep early (like me), and the three girls slept in the living room (a tradition.) J opted to sleep in his own bedroom since he doesn't share with anyone anymore!

Dad finally changed the light switch in the hall downstairs so it doesn't keep burning out light bulbs. It has a dimmer now, which is much nicer when used as a night light.

School highlights:

We only had two days of school this week. For geography we looked over our country reports to make sure we are caught up. We discovered the lessons skipped over the first section of the reports, so we'll do that next week. M is finishing up the final project for her graphic design course, and J is finishing up his coding course. He has been learning a little about 3D printing over the Christmas break.

Come, Follow Me 2019:

We're only one week into this, but I wanted to write down some notes on what's been beneficial and unnecessary so far.

Our church has created a curriculum guide to help individuals and families study the New Testament in their homes, and deepen their testimonies and conversion in the process. We'll study this through 2019, then cover another book of scripture the next year. We started the first lesson on Dec. 31st.

Since this was during the last few days of Christmas break, we spent more time on Come, Follow Me each day than we likely will be able to in the future. We finished reading the Old Testament on Dec. 29th, so we focused on the first lesson and its scripture stories this past week. We talked about the story of the rich young ruler, how we can be doers rather than just hearers, the parable of the ten virgins, the sharpen your ax story from Tad R. Callister, how to study a single topic, the parable of the sower; pretty much everything in the lesson. Some mornings we spent an hour talking before we realized how much time had passed.

I feel it was a great start. Everyone participated and enjoyed our time learning together.

I am a visual person, so I am drawn to all of the pretty teaching kits being advertised right now. But the Holy Ghost kept whispering to me that those aren't necessary, especially the ongoing expense of the subscriptions, and that the manual has everything I need if I just focus and study. As I've taught my family this week and studied for next week I can tell you that is completely true. I had a few dollars in my PayPal account and two sites I've been watching with lesson plans to purchase or subscribe to, so I tried them out just to see. Below are my notes on what I'm going to use and what I may refer to once in a while.

Necessary for me:

Come, Follow Me manual - Everything is right there. I have been reading through the lesson, then reading through the scriptures, then going over the lesson one more time with the scriptures together as I focus on each question. I've learned a lot this way and feel this is really all that is necessary.

LDS Media Library Collections - The church has put together collections of videos in the LDS Media app and site that correspond with each lesson.

Will use regularly:

The New Testament Made Easier - A book I was given, probably the last time we studied the NT at church. This is full of tips and helps and includes the JST. I have part 1 and will need to pick up parts 2 and 3 later in the year. Between this book and the Meridian podcast, I am finding all the little tips from the paid Red Headed Hostess study guides (below.)

Meridian's Come, Follow Me Podcast - A 30 minute weekly presentation on each lesson. I discovered I need to focus on what they have to say, there's a lot of helpful information that isn't found in the scriptures, such as information about Jewish culture. I sit down with a coloring page and a blank page for notes while I listen.

Helpful sites for occasional use:

Don't Miss This Weekly Study Sheets - You can sign up for this weekly email or just download the free study sheet. There is also a weekly video which I found insightful, though I discovered they taught a couple of things with a different understanding than other sources.

Cranial Hiccups - She's collecting links to Latter-day Saint resources for each lesson.

Chicken Scratch n Sniff - Also a collection of links that pertain to each lesson, as well as book suggestions, worksheets, discussion questions. Includes free resources and printables from her site.

Meridian Lesson Helps - I just learned about these today, so I'll start reading them and see how helpful I find them.

Paid helps:

Love, Pray, Teach - I bought one lesson kit. The kit is cute but smaller than I expected. The best part of it is the 7 day lesson outline. I felt there were too many coloring and journaling pages, but then again we are using our own journals and only half of my kids love to color with lessons. I feel this kit would be helpful for busy families who have less time to plan ahead about what to teach and when to teach it, or families with younger children.

The Red Headed Hostess - These kits are gorgeous and packed full of printables, images, activities, and teaching helps. Be prepared to use a lot of ink if you want to print out each kit, or parts of it. I picked a few pages I'd like to use, showed some images from my tablet, and used the study guides in my studying and little bits of them as I taught my family. I love these study guides, they give tips on looking closely at verses, marking verses, clarifying what you learn, and questions to answer as discussions or journaling guides. But considering the amount of pages in each kit that I'll actually use, the cost for these is too high.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Weekly Recap: With Thanksgiving and Christmas

Happy New Year! I need to catch up on the end of the previous year, so here we go!

Daddy got new tires on his van, thanks to Black Friday sales they were a great price! We enjoyed Thanksgiving and Christmas and spending time with family. Both my husband and M have spoken in sacrament meeting during the past month. I put together some Christmas stories into a Christmas program outline for our church, and each group created a skit for their story. J was the ghost of Christmas present, M was the child who gets on the Polar Express, and I was Santa in 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. New Year's Eve was a fun night as well, with spinach artichoke dip and vegetables, and pigs in a blanket made from Little Smokies. We watched National Treasure and Snowball Express, and some kids stayed up late enough to also watch Groundhog Day with Dad.

Each year my brother and sister buy my family tickets to an experience of some sort - the zoo, aquarium, etc. Last year they gave us cash and instructions to choose. We had a dinner and play picked out, then something came up and we weren't able to go. When The Forgotten Carols tickets went on sale, I bought seats right away and we surprised the kids! Everyone had a great time, but it started so late.. we didn't get home until 11 p.m. That was rough, but the play was memorable.

We had a tummy bug go through the house. Some were sick for about 24 hours, but some were sick for about 15 minutes. It made for a rough few days but we survived!

We had quite a situation to solve in our living room. My parents gave us my grandpa's couch. We wanted to put it down in our school room, but because of the way the previous owners finished the stairs and hall, it wouldn't go around the corner down there. So we gave away the broken couch that was down there, moved the recliner down, and put the second couch in the living room. My sister decided to replace her couches and offered her 3 part couch to us. We had a couple of weeks while we argued about what to do. Some of us wanted to keep the recliner but some of us wanted to get the couch from my sister. We couldn't fit both. Eventually we decided to give away our recliner and two couches and put two parts of my sister's couch in our living room and the chaise in our school room. We are all very happy with this arrangement now and love the new seating! The chaise in the school room is now a highly coveted reading spot.

Our chickens are old enough that they rarely lay eggs anymore, so rather than have the extra expense and care through the winter, we slaughtered them all. Well, my husband gratefully took over that chore.

M received her new brace, a Cheneau style brace. Both it and her Boston correct her spine in different ways, so it's a little bit of a struggle deciding which to wear. But the Cheneau style brace does help with the upper curve in the way we hoped it would.

My parents and sister got the chance to visit my brother's family out of state, so my sister's dog stayed with us for a week. It was a lot of fun having her here, and she got so much attention she'll either decide she's done with us or beg to visit!

We made Zopf bread for Christmas; this year I made 10 batches, which equals 40 loaves.

School Highlights:

  • History - Lessons on Hitler and his treatment of the Jews, as well as finishing up the history lessons available to us. There are a few more that we're hoping are published soon, but the last 15 lessons of the course are non-existent. I've been asked to help write them, so I've begun reading about the topics as I wait for further instructions on what to do!
  • Literature - We're almost finished with Little House in the Big Woods. The two youngest (2nd and 5th grade) are enjoying doing these lessons alone and always do their reading assignments without me!
  • Science - We're studying arthropods now. We did a lesson on worms and the kids remember the first time we did that lesson and dissected an earthworm. They refused to do that again. M is continuing to work through her high school biology lessons on her own.
  • Geography - We've finished up the available lessons here too, and are waiting for more to be published. Recently we learned about the African Rift Valley and biomes in Africa. M suggested that we just move forward with our country reports while we wait for more lessons to be published, that way we don't get behind for our end of year celebration. 
  • Music & Art - We've been using Shades of Sound: Thanksgiving for some simple music lessons. These are fun; we learn a little about a composer and piece then listen to it. We listen for specific suggestions then rate and record our thoughts. During the listening portion we color a picture that corresponds to the music and theme. We've had fun doing these lessons, and they don't take much time.

Friday, November 23, 2018

D&C 88:119 Study

Many years ago I created a handout for a Primary lesson I taught.

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;

After listening to General Conference in October, I had the impression that I should study this scripture and ponder how I could create a house of each type mentioned.

Then I remembered that revelation is sprinkled throughout a group. I felt that if I truly wanted to determine as well as build these houses, I needed the help of everyone living here.

This "House of God" study made a wonderful Family Home Evening lesson. My daughter took charge. She quickly explained what we were going to do. Each person got a pen (different colors of course) and then she set a timer. After three minutes, we passed the papers. This continued until we each had the opportunity to write on all seven papers. Then we hung them where everyone sees them daily.

Now we can look at the papers and set personal and family goals. I am glad we did this together!

You can download the handouts I created from the links below.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Weekly Recap: With the scan and the crabs

Whew, when do we get to slow down for a minute?

J has been doing service projects almost every day this week. He and the other boys his age at church planned this to help ward members. He's been such a good example!

E got a fixed retainer put in her lower jaw to help hold things as the rest of the baby teeth fall out, before she can get braces.

M was scanned for a new brace. She'll be getting it in a few weeks. It was really neat to see how a 3D scan is done.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Good, Better, Best

I've had a little thought in the back of my head for many months now. I've felt I need to simplify and refocus. For school this year, we adjusted some curriculum which has helped a lot. I've also been focusing more on my kids and family. With the announcements in General Conference this year about the new curriculum being home centered and church supported, I've felt that my family needs to be the center of my focus more than ever before. The videos and links below are things I've been studying as I choose how I want to spend my time going forward.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Guitar 360 Method Review (Using a Guitar and Baritone Ukelele)

I'm not sure why playing the guitar is so fascinating. I used to play around with my mom's spare guitar; eventually she gave it to me. My son has attempted to learn a few things, but without lessons. When we were given the opportunity to review the Semester 1 Bundle from Guitar 360 Method, we couldn't wait to get started.

What is Guitar 360?

We received access to the Semester 1 Bundle, which includes the Absolute Beginner bonus content + the 13 weeks of Semester 1. This amounts to about 18 weeks of online guitar lessons (the last two weeks will be available soon.) You can sign up for the free beginner course and get started right away to see what you think. While the lessons are laid out in weeks, you don't have to take a full week to complete a lesson if you are confident and ready to move on. The instructor uses an acoustic guitar as well as an electric guitar, and you can follow along with either.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Weekly Recap: With the apples and the vehicles

Well, it finally happened. Our van blew a head gasket. The same thing we replaced three years ago. This time the cost of the repair is more than the van is worth, so we've decided to say goodbye to it. That was hard, a lot of memories are associated with it. But it's just an object, and we still have all the memories.

We've been thinking about what vehicle would replace it for over two years now. We've gone to test drive the kind we want but none of the vehicles ever seemed right for us. Well, we finally felt comfortable with one. Nervous about a car payment again, but calm too. So we showed up late for Halloween this year, but in a fancy ride. So fancy that I have to refer to the owners manual nearly every day. Ha ha ha!

Wolf in sheep's clothing, Statue of Liberty, firefighter, leprechaun

Our washer started leaking too, but it was still under warranty. The repairman said that in the 18 years he's been repairing washers he's never seen this part break. Comforting!

Sunday Snacks - Dutch Apple Beignets.
My kids would like you to know this is one of those "the best of life" pictures because it doesn't show the powdered sugar and green paint on the counter or the giant squash waiting to be baked.

I finished working on the curricula project I've been working on, condensing literature lessons for Family School! These lessons are so good, and I can't wait for them to go through the final steps before they go live.

My kids have been playing the guitar and learning from some online lessons (review goes live next week!) and they were so excited to find 14 guitar picks in our new vehicle! What a random thing to leave behind, but pretty neat too.

J went on an overnight campout and had a good time but also got cold, despite taking two extra blankets for his sleeping bag.

Neighbors gave us their extra apples. A lot of apples. So we freeze dried them! These make the best snacks, and we made some little pouches for our 72 hour kits.

We were given a couch and wanted to put it in the school room to replace a broken one. Well because of the way the previous house owners finished the basement, it won't fit down the hall. It's one inch too long! We want to fix the hall and refinish it the correct way, but since we have a new vehicle that doesn't seem likely. So we rearranged the living room and school room and now we have two couches in the living room and a recliner in the school room.

School Updates:

M had the opportunity to visit with a graphic designer and learn a little bit about what she does for work. She also got to try using Adobe Illustrator.
N finished All About Reading Level 4! She's done with reading lessons! She also finished All About Spelling Level 2 the same week.

Literature: The younger girls started studying Little House in the Big Woods.
Geography: We started learning about the hydrosphere in Africa.
Art: We looked at and described some of Georgia O'Keefe's paintings.
History: We looked at Roosevelt's New Deal and the Church Welfare Program. We also learned about Germany after WWI.
Science: We finished up Kingdoms & Classification from The Good and the Beautiful. I like the curriculum, but it feels simple. I'm used to the in depth lessons that include a gospel principle from Family School.