island school

a homeschool potpourri

Johnny Cash Tribute – Art Project

johnny cashThe Johnny Cash Project is a very interesting endeavor, billed as ” a global collective art project “. Each participant selects a frame to draw, from a selection offered, and each frame is assembled into a music video for Johnny Cash’s final studio recording “Ain’t No Grave”.

Strung together and played in sequence over the song, the portraits will create a moving, ever evolving homage to this beloved musical icon. What’s more, as new people discover and contribute to the project, this living portrait will continue to transform and grow, so it’s virtually never the same video twice.

Crowd sourcing a music video! Very cool!

If your family/homeschool participates, let us know how you liked it and what the ‘frame’ numbers of your contribution were (in the comments), and we’ll keep a list going here!

Art – not just crayons!

Special Education Week

Special Education Week is here, and teachers and parents have an opportunity to make contact with each other and get some attention for the needs of their children. The greatest of these needs is the simplist – to be acknowledged as persons, as worthy as any other of the rights of personhood- from conception until natural death.
Down's Syndrome - school

more links ...

Homecoming King

Embryo Adoption

Homeschooling Special Needs Resources

Special Needs Blog Hop

Have A Great Week!

Physical Education

I’m not sure how many homeschoolers incorporate physical education into their curriculum. I suspect many do as we do – keep our kids active, and count it as ‘Phys Ed’.
This year we are already in full swing with rugby. Each child has at least two practices a week. The older boys also have games. Because of our climate, rugby is a year-round activity. Softball/baseball will be starting up after Christmas, as well as roller-hockey, but rugby is the (current) passion. With Edward at Loughborough for sport science and yes, rugby, they are very keen! Big brothers seem to be great motivators!24474_379724291049_582831049_4269265_6919293_n
Another aspect of our ‘physical education’ this year, is that we’ve started running before school. Right now we are preparing for a marathon, in which two of the boys and I will participate in a relay, running 6.5 miles each. The ‘youngers’ will be running the ‘Kids Race’ of 1/2 mile. We are only up to two miles so far, but already there is less complaining and some improvement in time.
Since I have made the training part of our schedule 3 days a week, we have also been making it to morning Mass! Double bonus!

“Thanks Again Mr. Charest”

(island breezes)
Well, Quebeckers like to keep things interesting, non?

NP:

A new religion course taught in schools across Quebec was intended to improve inter-cultural understanding, but so far it is generating deep division as hundreds of parents pull their children out of class….

….Stéphanie Tremblay, a spokeswoman for Quebec’s Education Department, said school boards across the province have received and rejected more than 1,400 requests from public-school parents seeking to have their children exempted from taking the course. The dissenters represent a small minority of the one million children enrolled in public schools…..

“The course was designed with an eye to respecting the freedom of conscience and religion of all students,” she said. “It is not a religious instruction course. It is religious culture. We introduce young people to religious culture like we introduce them to musical culture. The goal is to better know and understand others.”….

Meanwhile…

The new course is also mandatory in private schools, and Montreal’s Loyola High School has initiated its own court challenge. Parents of more than 600 of the Jesuit school’s students asked to have their children exempted from the course, and all were refused by the province.

Paul Donovan, the school’s principal, said much of the curriculum is already taught at Loyola, but not in the “relativistic” way favoured by the Education Department.

He said the course does not ask children to distinguish between right and wrong. “What it essentially says is that religion is just, ‘You like tomato soup and I like pea soup, so don’t be all offended because someone likes tomato soup. It’s really just a matter of preference,’ ” he said. “Religion could be Wiccan or Raelian or any of the new movements or atheism or agnosticism.”

So far Loyola has refused to teach the Ethics and Religious Culture class. “I can’t tell my teachers to teach that course in conscience. I can’t,” Mr. Donovan said.

I don’t think Ms. Stephanie really understands the concepts of ‘parental perogative’ and ‘freedom of religion’ – or for that matter, ‘culture’!

How many more self immolating ‘reforms’ will Quebec endure under the rule of Monsieur Charest?

Campus Abuse of Personal Freedoms

We’re talking about the right to free-speech and freedom of religion. Basic rights.

Washington Times has an article reminding us how much today’s universities are controlled by the ‘PC’ agenda :

…Young America’s Foundation once again compiled the “best of the worst” academic abuses for 2008. These stories are usually not reported in the “drive-by” media, no doubt to shield school officials from explaining their radical curricula. The Yuba incident tops the list, although it had plenty of competition, as you’ll see.

Transgendered Activists In, Pro-life Speakers Out:

Administrators at the University of St. Thomas, a Catholic institution in Minnesota, inexplicably censored the appearance of prominent pro-life speaker Star Parker.

In April, Ms. Parker, the best-selling author of numerous books, was slated to speak on campus about the devastating impact abortion has on minority communities. Yet St. Thomas bureaucrats, under the helm of the Vice President of Student Affairs Jane Canney, forbade the lecture, claiming they felt “uncomfortable” and “disturbed” by previous conservative speakers at the University.

Speakers that passed Ms. Canney’s litmus test in 2008? Al Franken, the liberal U.S. Senate candidate in Minnesota, and Debra Davis, a transgendered activist who believes that God is a black lesbian….

When helping our young homeschoolers choose a university, we should keep in mind whether the school of choice will maintain the same standards of freedom and integrity we’ve been struggling to personally instill in our children. There still are some private colleges that understand what the ‘liberal’ in ‘liberal education’ means, but not that many!

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Mom’s Letter To Santa

(Debbie Farmer is an award-winning syndicated columnist. You can subscribe to her monthly email column at FamilyDaze )

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a good mom all year. I’ve fed, cleaned, and cuddled my two children on demand, visited the doctor’s office more than my doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground and figured out how to attach nine patches onto my daughter’s girl scout sash with staples and a glue gun.

I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son’s red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I’ll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:

I’d like a pair of legs that don’t ache after a day of chasing kids (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don’t flap in the breeze, but are strong enough to carry a screaming toddler out of the candy aisle in the grocery store. I’d also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you’re hauling big ticket items this year, I’d like a car with fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that doesn’t broadcast any programs containing talking animals, and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking daughter doll that says, “Yes, Mommy” to boost my parental confidence, along with one potty-trained toddler, two kids who don’t fight, and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools. I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting, “Don’t eat in the living room” and “Take your hands off your brother”, because my voice seems to be just out of my children’s hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

And please don’t forget the Playdoh Travel Pak, the hottest stocking stuffer this year for mothers of preschoolers. It comes in three fluorescent colors and is guaranteed to crumble on any carpet making the In-law’s house seem just like mine.

If it’s too late to find any of these products, I’d settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container. If you don’t mind I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely.

It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family; or if my toddler didn’t look so cute sneaking downstairs to eat contraband ice cream in his pajamas at midnight.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the chimney and come in and dry off by the fire so you don’t catch cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table, but don’t eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours always…..Mom

PS: One more thing…you can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to believe in Santa.

Well, I have eight kids, a daughter-in-law, and almost 2 grandchildren …but I remember when my kids were younger! (Especially in my joints!)

Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Almost Ready!

It’s the final few days before the ‘big kids’ get here , and the last few days of homeschool. Almost out of time to get ready for Christmas!

Elizabeth and Mrs. R. (eating candy!)
I brought the kids to the Senior’s home, ‘The Pines’, for a ‘Kids with Heart’ session. We decorated wooden picture frames with the residents to hold their pictures which the staff had taken previously. It went rather well. My kids are the only ‘not little’ kids, and were able to help out a bit. They have certain residents that they’ve come to know over the past two years, and I was pleased to see dialogue and real affection . Whenever an opportunity like this comes up I make efforts to participate. The kids expect to be doing things out of their ‘comfort’ zone with regularity, and they also realize that our family doesn’t measure inconvenience very highly against service. Hopefully, this will stick with them.

Anyone else having ‘clutter’ issues?

Robin at Heart of Wisdom has a great posting on organizing the house.  I’m definitely going to need this one!

Getting Rid Of Fridge Clutter

Is your definition of leftover something you put in the refrigerator until it turns green? Ewwww. The official title is UFO (unidentified fridge objects). Do you have to cram the milk back in or move 5 bottles and 3 containers to put in a new item? Have you ever found an expired item that had never been opened? Do you triple stack? Do you have to rush to shut the door before things fall out?….

Its always a struggle here to keep chaos at bay! When company is coming (even if its ‘just’ the boys!) its a good incentive for an extra push!

We try to save our celebrating for the actual ‘event’, so we don’t really decorate until the last week of Advent. The next week will be full of baking and crafting and practicing our carols. My DH does the major portion of Christmas ‘shopping’ and wrapping. I help the kids with their ‘secret Santa’ ventures (eight kids means they pull names!) and take care of all entertainment and food. It works for us! This year I’m hoping for a real tree (not that easy to maintain in theis weather!) and a new Nativity set.

Next Monday we are hosting a ‘cookies and crafts’ afternoon for some ‘kids we know’ – I think there’ll be about 20 kids (not counting mine) and some Moms. We keep it simple by baking the cookies ahead, and setting out a ‘decorating’ table. One of the little girls is allergic to dairy, so her Grandma is bringing her own cookies, and I’m trying to find a decent icing recipe without butter.

Monday evening is the ‘teen’ night.(16+) Since the three kids hosting it have some overlapping friends there should be about 30 . I’m not sure they’ve planned it well enough, but I’m leaving it up to them….except for house rules, which their friends are already familiar with. My experience tells me that if there is food and music, everyone will be happy!

Then….Christmas! My favourite part is Christmas eve/Christmas day services. We really try to make Christ the centre of our celebration, and we maintain a fair degree of ‘self’ control and decorum on Christmas Day. I love it! I look around at my happy , wholesome family and I cannot be more grateful for God’s blessings, for Christ’s sacrifice, and Mary’s ‘Yes’.

I see Christian living in my living room!

Don’t Forget Saint Nicholas!

The St. Nicholas Center has some wonderful information on …Saint Nicholas! My children look forward to his special day (Dec 6) and the stories about this holy bishop.

Quite a few countries around the world celebrate Dec. 6 especially. Here’s a bit about the Netherlands:

In mid-November Dutch television broadcasts the official arrival of St. Nicholas and his helper Zwarte Piet live to the nation. Coming by steamer from Spain, each year they dock in the harbor of a different city or village. Wearing traditional bishop’s robes, Sinterklaas rides into town on a white horse to be greeted by the mayor. A motorcade and a brass band begin a great parade which leads Sinterklaas and his Piets through the town. Nearly every city and village has its own Sinterklaas parade.

In the following weeks before St. Nicholas Day, December 6, Sinterklaas goes about the country to determine if the children have been well-behaved. He and his Zwarte Piet helpers visit children in schools, hospitals, department stores, and even at home. The bakeries are busy making speculaas molded spice cookies of the saint. During this time children put out their shoes with wish-lists and a carrot or hay, or maybe a saucer of water, for the horse. When St. Nicholas happens by, the next morning children may find chocolate coins or initial letter, candy treats, pepernoten, and little gifts in their shoes. Everyone hopes for sweets, not coal or a little bag of salt.

Homeschool Advent Calendar

There are some great activity and craft ideas in this calendar at About.Com:Homeschooling. A few too many for this family to use all at once!

Today’s list:
* Recipe – Miniature Gingerbread House
* Game – Christmas Symbols Crossword Puzzle
* Coloring Page – Candy Cane Coloring Page
* Craft – Cool Cube Card
* E-card – Send this card to your family and friends
* Activity Page – Christmas Tree Puzzle

The ‘Cube Card’ looks like a winner!cube card

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Homemade Ornaments

When I was a kid I always looked forward to the new ideas Mom would have for making Christmas ornaments. Here is a site with video instructions! “Instructables” has some interesting stuff, but I suggest adult supervision – just in case.

Laser Cut?


How to make laser-cut Holiday decorationsMore DIY How To Projects

(Add site recommendations in comments and I’ll post them)