"Mothers work wonders once they are convinced that wonders are demanded of them." ~Charlotte Mason

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Send Bibles

View this video about the persecuted church around the world. Go to www.wildershow.com and click on Send Bibles to help.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Challenge vs. Frustration

In education, a fine line exists between challenging a child and frustrating a child. The only way to find the balance is to truly know the child.

In one of our co-op classes, I co-teach a class with 23 students. Ten or so are freshmen, five or so sophomores and juniors, and one senior. With such diversity, we have such a difficult task finding assignments that are challenging to all, yet not frustrating to any.

Is this possible?

Isn't this why we homeschool to begin with, so we can tailor our learning to the specifications, the bent, of the child? I suppose the best solution is to modify the workload.

In a co-op setting, just as in a school setting, we release some of our rights, our control, over our children's education. This is one of those instances.

If only we had more time, more hours in the day, or at least more hours of class time, we could do so much better. But a co-op is truly a partnership between parent and teacher. We just have to pray God will give the parents the wisdom to see what their own children need, and provide as He always does.

How did Laura Ingalls Wilder do it?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Locks of Love

I am mailing hair. No joke. I am physically putting hair in the mail and sending it to someone.

Why, you ask?

For the second time in their short lives, my little girls are donating their hair to Locks of Love. This summer we cut around 15 inches each off of their hair, and we are sending it to Locks of Love so they can use it to make wigs for children with cancer.

I love the joy with which children give. A joyful heart truly is good medicine.

Little Lamb of God

Little lamb of God,
Little lamb of God,
Little lamb of God.

You were born a lamb
And I was born a child.
He was both.
We are blessed.

Little lamb of God
Do you know how blessed you are?
To be a lamb is great.
To be a lamb is great.

~~Posted by Lil Yoda

Ode to Cocoa



We're on our way up a narrow path,
Only taking our living things with us.

One of our belongings has raced ahead of us
And reached the gate before we did
And started a new life up in heaven.

Though we miss her very much
We know she will no longer suffer
On the graveled road that leads there!

(This poem is based on my dog Cocoa who died on Sept 17, 2007 and was born on Dec 7, 1997, almost ten when she died.)

~~Posted by Padme

Refreshing

This week were blessed to babysit for my lifelong friend's 3 & 5 yo children. We had such a wonderful day doing preschool activities, playing dress-up, playing cars & planes, working puzzles and cooking in the pretend kitchen.

This is such a fun age. Those of you with preschoolers, enjoy them! There will soon come a day when all problems can not be solved with a popsicle, and kissing it no longer makes it better. These are precious years and they pass so quickly.

What a refreshing day! Thank to my dear friend for sharing your sweet little blessings with us!



Monday, September 17, 2007

Co-op classes

We love our co-op. We get together with the 100 families who are our closest friends (ok so I don't know some of them) once a week and exchange teaching skills. I teach what I'm good at, and others teach what they are good at, and the kids get all the benefit. We have really developed some good friendships there, and we look so forward to our 10 weeks in the fall and 10 weeks in the spring! We are going on Week 3.

Here is a list of what my kids are taking at co-op this year:

My eldest is in 9th grade this year so he has no fun classes, only credit classes:

Chemistry (he has already taken Biology and IPC/General Science - 2-3 hours homework each week)
American Government (2-3 hours homework each week)
Precepts (this is a Bible study class with 2-3 hours of homework each week)
Humanities (multi-credit class that combines History, Lit, Art & Music Appreciation - 8-10 hours of homework each week)

Padme, 3rd grade:
Traveling the American Road (taught by her Grandma)
Shake It Up Shakespeare (taught by her sweet Momma)
Make It Medieval (a crafts class - last week she came home with a flag)
Cheers & Cartwheels
Extreme Weather (again taught by Grandma)

Lil Yoda, 2nd grade:
Traveling the American Road
Shake It Up Shakespeare
Fun With Cooking (if you knew her you would not be surprised)
Once Upon a Story
Extreme Weather

I teach Humanities with 2 other ladies, and I also teach the Shakespeare class (1st-3rd grade) and a Movies As Literature class called Thumbs Up (9th-12th grade). Plus I get to help with preschool, which is the highlight of the whole day.

All of this makes for a very fun, very exhausting day. But also fun. And exhausting.

Of course we do many other subjects at home, that are not part of co-op. We follow the Ambleside Online curriculum, although we have deviated somewhat to avoid overlap with subjects covered at co-op. Our at-home subjects include Bible, English, handwriting, math, critical thinking, character study, art, artist & composer studies, home economics, hymns, folk songs, nature study, Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian and whatever else sounds really fun. We do a lot of reading around our house.

Admittedly, homeschooling is a lot of work. But it's also a lot of fun. Besides, what better things do I have to do for the next 10 years?

Pets

A thread running through a yahoo group I'm on is asking us to talk about our pets. I thought you guys might also want to know what other craziness exists in our home, besides the adorable Littluns.

We are, in fact, downsizing in the pet department. My rule is that all kids get to stay, but pets have to tow the line if they want to stay. I run a pretty tight ship - in the pet department anyway. Sometimes I don't even give three strikes before they're out.

First, you will all be glad to know that we got rid of Ashley Bonnie, the dog who tried to eat my daughter's face last winter.





We loved that dog but you have to draw the line somewhere. (That is a story for another post. I learned a lot of valuable information about dog bites. After the fact, of course. And she didn't really try to eat her face, she actually bit her on the lip, but it's all the same to me!) Too bad. Other than that incident, she was the best dog we ever had.

OK, so we replaced that dog with another, but the new dog weighs about 60 pounds less so, the way I see it, we're still ahead. More on that later...

Our cocker spaniel, Cocoa Evangeline, turned out not to be lake material. She kept getting burrs the size of quarters in her long fur, and she loved to find dead fish and roll in them. Why are dogs so weird?




When the burrs were so bad that her ear was folded in half and stuck together, I started looking for other options. My mother-in-law adopted Cocoa earlier this summer, and she loves being part of their family. Plus, we still get to visit. She also was a weird dog - she had an obsession with our fish tank, and would sit for hours and watch the fish swim. Apparently she now obsesses over their guinea pig, so she's happy.


We gave away our adorable lop-eared bunny a couple of years ago to a sweet friend, before he got really huge. (The bunny, not the friend. The friend is a girl. And not huge).

Of course, we immediately replaced the Little Bunny Boo-Boo with 2 kittens (who turned into cats, it's true, but honeslty you hardly ever see them so, if you count by Hours They Are In The Way, they barely count at all).

Finally, our lion fish has some barbaric tendencies and keeps killing the other fish with his poisonous barbs. I think he's killed about 12. As of yesterday he is now King of the Hill. We really thought we were safe as long as we got fish who were too big for his mouth. Turns out he kills just for fun. Sicko. He even killed the shrimp & tried to eat it. He couldn't get the shrimp to fit so its claws are hanging out of his mouth. He eventually spit it out because, duh, it has an exoskeleton! Fish are so dumb.

So...that leaves us with 2 dogs (Beau Antonio, a 140 pound lab and Diego Alejandro Frisco Pasado Laredo, a 4 pound chihuahua, guess who's in charge?), 2 cats (Mary Kate and Jackie, but you'll probably never see them if you come over) and 1, read it again, 1 fish (Aslan, who the kids have decided is actually a Devil fish and needs a new name. Aslan seemed to fit because he's a lion fish but that was before we knew him).

Imho, you can't really count all the critters that my kids are forever coming home with, or the snake I killed in the garage last week (btw an axe works way better than a shovel - why do they always tell you to get a shovel?) because they aren't pets. They're more like experiments.

I keep trying to get dh to let me buy one of my dear friend's shih tzu pups, but he says we have to charge admission if we get anymore pets. Ooh, but now that the fish are depleted maybe he'd reconsider...

I really need help.
Update: We just received word that Cocoa died today. Apparently she started getting sick and just died. She was nearly 10, not terribly old for a small dog. We will miss this sweet little dog! For all her quirks (she had plenty) she really was a sweet girl...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Three Detectives

Three Little Detectives. Left to right: Detective F-Meier (Lil Yoda), Detective E-Meier (Padme) and Detective S-Meier (KMe).

Never leave children unsupervised around makeup.

Here's the video introduction:

video

Where do they come up with this stuff?

Safety Town

I must tell you about an exciting field trip we went on this week. A nearby city has built a huge complex called Safety Town. In the main building are classrooms, a fire engine & wall of fire tools, etc. (and of course a gift shop where we dropped $20 for Safety Town t-shirts). Outside is a complete, miniature town designed to teach the kids about safety issues.



From their website:

"The complex consists of an 8,000 square foot Educational Facility alongside a miniature outdoor town which has 24 buildings, created on a 5/8th scale, that represents area businesses and homebuilders. Intermingled with the buildings are paved and marked streets, complete with working traffic signals, a railroad crossing and a toll booth."


Each year, the public school kids (and other school groups for miles around) visit safety town, and learn about different things. We went to the third grade class about Bicycle Safety. After class, the kids got to ride bikes (provided) through safety town! It was really a lot of fun. Other classes offered at Safety Town include 9-1-1 and Emergency Safety (Kindergarten), Motor Vehicle, School Bus and Pedestrian Safety (this is the first grade class, and they get to ride Jeeps around Safety Town), Fire Safety (second grade - the kids are in a "house" that starts smoking and they go through various situations to learn what to do in case of fire) & Burn Prevention, Severe Weather and Disaster Preparedness (fourth grade) and Internet Safety and Personal Information Awareness (fifth grade). This place, apparently the first one like it in the US, is so cool!

Regrettably, I forgot to bring my camera. These pictures are from the Safety Town website later. But you get the picture. :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

No Honking

As witnessed at dinner this evening:

-------------------
LIL YODA (upon discovering that the plate of rolls was at the other end of the table from where she was seated):

Momma, you can't just honk all of the rolls!

JUBILEE: Do you mean "hog" all of the rolls? You know, like a hog, who would eat them all?
-------------------

Upon realizing her mistake, Lil Yoda and the whole Clan burst into laughter.

Kids are so fun.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Beautiful Centaurs




This picture was based on my creative thinking and my friend KMe. It makes me feel happy because I love horses, and this is a picture of two female centaurs.

Posted by Padme

Remembering 9/11


We are flying the American flag today in honor of Patriot Day. It is difficult to teach the horrors of 9/11 to children. How do you put such things into words? How do you explain terrorist? They do not even understand hate, much less hate raised to such a degree.
Yet I want them to know, to understand as much as they can, and to be part of the rebuilding process. Thus, we have been looking at pictures and talking about the tragedies of 9/11, and praying for the families that suffered the loss of a love done, and for the strength of our nation. And we will pray for those who don't know Christ, whose hearts are filled with hate instead of the love He offers.

A Child Talks of God

Accountability request: I have attempted a couple of blogs in the past, but never seem to find the time to keep them up and, alas! they find their way onto the list of Things I Intend To Do Someday.

Well, someday is now. Er, again...

Anyway, this blog is entirely different, because this blog was inspired by my sweet youngest daughter, Lil Yoda, who wrote a poem about God and wanted to share it with the world. So here it is:


I love God so much.
He was the one who took the evil
And put them in prison.
He was the one who amazed the Israelites
And turned them back to Him.
He was the one who calls Himself a Lamb.
He died for us.
He L-O-V-E loves us.

He was the Preacher/Pastor/Teacher.
Some people still think He is too old
To do things He used to do.
But he is not.
He made all of us.
He loves us.

He made the animals.
He loves US.

Have joy.

Blog Title

First, I'd like to give credit where credit is due. The name of this blog, Spilled Laughter, comes from the lyrics of one of my favorite Rich Mullins songs, Calling Out Your Name:

Well the moon moved past Nebraska
And spilled laughter on them cold Dakota Hills
And angels danced on Jacob's stairs
Yeah, they danced on Jacob's stairs
There is this silence in the Badlands
And over Kansas the whole universe was stilled
By the whisper of a prayer
The whisper of a prayer

And the single hawk bursts into flight
And in the east the whole horizon is in flames
I feel thunder in the sky
I see the sky about to rain
And I hear the prairies calling out Your name

I can feel the earth tremble
Beneath the rumbling of the buffalo hooves
And the fury in the pheasant's wings
And there's fury in a pheasant's wings

It tells me the Lord is in His temple
And there is still a faith that can make the mountains move
And a love that can make the heavens ring
And I've seen love make heaven ring

Where the sacred rivers meet
Beneath the shadow of the Keeper of the plains
I feel thunder in the sky
I see the sky about to rain
And I hear the prairies calling out Your name

From the place where morning gathers
You can look sometimes forever 'til you see
What time may never know
What time may never know

How the Lord takes by its corners this old world
And shakes us forward and shakes us free
To run wild with the hope
To run wild with the hope

The hope that this thirst will not last long
That it will soon drown in the song not sung in vain
And I feel thunder in the sky
I see the sky about to rain
And I hear the prairies calling out Your name

Calling out His name from my little corner of America...