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Friday, June 28, 2013

Sigh of Relief

Little Bear is such a sweet little boy. He's also full of anxiety over lots of little things and super shy to boot. He's not very social, and crowds exhaust him. In short, he's a lot like his mama (except maybe the sweet part ;) ).

So when his first trip to cub scout camp came around this past week, I was very nervous for him. He had been to one night of a fall camp out and one night of a winter camp out, but those were pretty tame events. They were meant to introduce the boys to camp in a pretty relaxed atmosphere. But summer camp is a whole different game. They keep the boys busy from sun up to long past sun down. He would be gone from Thursday at noon until Saturday night, late.

I spent a good deal of time in prayer for him last week before he went. I knew he would be okay, and Papa Oak and I agreed they would just come home early if all went south. No point in making it a miserable experience for everyone just to say he made it.

We packed his things and waved him off Thursday afternoon. He was bouncing with excitement.

He called home that first night to say he was having a great time. And one of the other dads sent this picture so I could see for myself that he was having fun.

And then we didn't hear from them again... My husband is a man of few words, so my attempts at checking in were met with texts saying Will do. And All's well. Doesn't he know a mama needs more than four words??? I think he might have thrown in an Okay once for good measure.

He popped back in quickly Saturday morning for a swim meet, and I was so relieved to see he was still in one piece. And he was impatient to go back. He swam his race and was out of there in a flash.

Saturday night we were invited to the camp for a family dinner and a closing program. He was just beaming when we arrived. He showed us all around the camp, explained how we needed to behave in the dining hall, showed us how to clean up, and led us confidently to the campfire. He even bought presents for each of us at the little trading post. He's a thoughtful little guy.

We watched the “pirates” play a crazy game of leap frog, fight to be the new pirate king, sing piratey songs, and hand out some camp awards. The boy was actually sad to leave camp. He opted to ride home in dad's car because they had come together. He said that since they had started together, it would only be right to finish together. No joke.

He didn't say much about camp once he came home. He's also a man of few words. He said his favorite part was buying a little, brown bear in the trading post. He came home with a huge scar on his chest from a fall he had taken. Otherwise, I'll never know much about what happened out there at camp. But I guess that's part of the road to becoming a man.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


It's like walking into a candy store.

They inhale audibly, and their eyes become like saucers.

It's like Christmas morning. All of that possibility. All of that hope.

They take off down the aisles and start pulling out favorites. They add in some that look too enticing to be left alone. Our pile becomes a mountain.

I can hear cries of “Yes!” as they find something they have been hoping to see. I sit and smile, knowing that excitement. 

I can't help myself. The first thing I do when I get my hands on a book – old or new – is smell it. They all have a distinct smell. There's an old library book smell, a new book smell, a Bible smell, a textbook smell, a picture book smell... you get the idea.

I love the wrinkled pages of a book that lost a battle with a glass of water. I love the worn pages of a book that has clearly been read again and again. I love a book with crayon scribbles in it and a book with notes written in the margin.

I imagine those who have read the book before me. Did they read with lightning speed when everything started to come together in A Tale of Two Cities? Did they wonder what in the world Beth March died of (I believe it was lack of anything better to do – sorry)? Did they get angry with The Capitol when they threw the champions back in the arena?

There's just so much possibility in each book. I sit and smile, hearing my children dive into that possibility with so much enthusiasm.

What kind of reader are you?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What We're Reading...

Right now we are in the middle of several really good books. Our shelves are piled high with our latest library selections. I let Little Bear get his own library card today (which was a whole experience by itself), so now we can increase the insane number of books we have each time.

Curly is reading Tales of Ancient Egypt for a little summer school reading. 

He's also reading Harry Potter for the fourth time. Apparently, he is listening to one and reading another at the same time. My poor brain would just be confused.

He's listening to The Never Ending Story. And then he throws in some other random books as the mood strikes.

Little Bear is into Geronimo Stilton right now. In the spring, he loved My Weird School, but he read all of those and has moved on to Geronimo. He also has a pile of other books, but he keeps coming back to these.

And Tiny Dancer is just happy to listen to anything girly. For some reason, she loves The Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan. I find it painful to read aloud, and I have been asked to do so no less than 75 times.
 Front Cover

I'm also reading Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang to all three and The MysteriousBenedict Society to Curly. LOVE the Benedict Society!!  


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Classical Education

When we first started home schooling, I spent a lot (I mean, a LOT) of time researching. I read many books about home schooling and the different approaches to it. One of the books that I found really helpful was Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Homeschool Picks.


In the front of this book was a survey on different learning styles, different teaching styles, and different educational approaches. I quickly discovered that my preferred approach is the classical method. I then went on to read The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer.

This book was exactly what I needed. The classical approach made total sense to me, and she explained it in such a straight-forward manner that I felt that I could implement this style into our home school. Many books out there like to talk theory, and that's all well and good, but what I really wanted was more practical help. The Well-Trained Mind spelled it all out for me.

There is so much I like about this approach. I love that it's history and literature based. I love that it shows children the big picture of the world to help them process and remember all of the information they are learning. I love that it teaches them to learn for themselves. I also love that it allows my children to work at whatever level they need.

It would be difficult for us to use a boxed curriculum because my kids don't fit neatly into a grade level. Curly works on grade level in math, a grade ahead in grammar, and several grades ahead in everything else. Little Bear works two grade levels ahead in math and a grade level or two ahead in the different aspects of language arts. This suits them so well, and I feel like they are constantly challenged.

Classical education fits our family perfectly. We love memorizing poems, reading classic literature, and diving into history. If you are also classical home schoolers, I'd love to hear about it!