The Land of Boys

Learning to live in a house full of testosterone

Archive for the month “August, 2010”

Not Me Monday

I have never done a Not Me Monday post. This is hosted by MckMama. Perhaps my bad parenting day can help someone else see that they are not alone.

Wow. Was it ever a Monday here. Today I most certainly did NOT have a child who huffed and puffed and stomped everywhere, causing me to call him the “Big Bad Wolf”. Nope, not me. That sort of thing does not happen in a preacher’s family. We are always spit-shined and  loving toward each other. So of course, I did not punish said child for being disrespectful to his brother by making him do the dishes alone. By not doing so child could not have whined for two hours about how tired he was and how he needed to go to the bathroom. So then, I could not have told him to hurry with the dishes to avoid any discomfort. Attitude did not get worse. I certainly did not tell him he better get a shower quickly in order to get in bed so he would be refreshed in order to get up at 5:30-ish to get to public school on time. I really did not tell him that if he is going to treat the people who love him like garbage, he can spend his days with people who do not love him. My wonderful husband, being the loving father that he is, assuredly did not agree to drive child in question to the local school  in order to “put the fear in him” in the morning. (with a backpack full of paper and pencils and lunch money) Nope, not me at all.


Benjamin’s Report

Benjamin turned in his first rough draft of the year. Let me just say, boy was it EVER rough.

This is a report on Benedictine Monks. Benedictine Monks wrote by hand! They were so good at that, that you could barely their handwriting apart! And, they were not allowed to talk. And the weirdest thing of all, they could not go outside of the monistary.

Hmm… where to begin? The odd use of italics for no apparent reason? Leaving out words?  Misspelling? Awkwardly strung together sentences???? So, I replied with this:

Your sentences do not flow smoothly. This report is very choppy! And, you need to check your spelling. And, most important of all, never start a sentence with and.

(okay, maybe that is not the MOST important thing. It just seemed funny at the time) So then I went through with the dreaded red pen and marked what need correcting. I love my crazy kiddos!

**** On a totally unrelated note, yesterday I was feeling bad so Mark stepped in to teach. Like any good class, they took advantage of their kind substitute teacher’s lack of knowing what gets done. They conveniently “forgot” to tell him that after the devotion that goes with the catechism lesson  they are supposed to write the question and answer.  Little sneaks!!!

Petunia-Style Church Goers

Recently I read the story of Petunia with the boys. This has long been a family favorite at our house, but for those who may not be as familiar I will get a short recap.  Petunia is a silly goose who finds a book in the meadow. She had once overheard someone say that “He who owns books and loves them is wise.” So she thinks having this book and loving it will make her wise. She carries it around under her wing and becomes very proud. All the barnyard animals notice that something is different about her. She gives them advice, whether they ask for it or not. Apparently, nobody seems to notice that her advice is terrible until she ends up telling a bunch of animals that a box of fireworks is a box of candy. They start to eat it and BOOM!!! They end up bruised and burned. The firecracker blew the book and for the first time Petunia saw the pages with words written on them. She realized it was not enough to carry wisdom under her wing; she must have it in her heart and mind. To do that she must learn to read. The book ends with Petunia  holding up an ABC book.

It reminds me of a lot of people in churches. Some people go to church week after week. They can clean up well and look very respectful. They might even have a job (or multiple jobs) within their church. People can begin to think that person is very important, very Godly, and very respectful. But if a person simply goes to church to be seen and does not live what they act, they are more like a silly goose than like a Christian. Christ said for believers to pick up their cross daily and follow Him. He never said “pick up your Bible a few times a week and act important.” To truly become wise we must do something similar to Petunia. We need to get our Bibles out from under our wings and open them up. Wow, there are words inside! We need to read those words. We need to have those words in our hearts and minds always.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

The First Week and A Surprise For Mom

We made it through our first week of the 2010/2011 school year. One down, thirty-five to go!! Things are going marvelously well, for now. Samuel wore real clothes the first day, not a costume. I was thinking there might be hope he would grow up not to be a costume-wearing geek at some comic book convention in the future.  Uhm, actually, he informed me his knight costume was dirty and needed to be washed.  So it got washed. And he wore it.

We have really had a lot of fun this week. This week is a bit of a review of the fall of Rome, which we learned about last year. We also reviewed all the geography terms that we learned about. One way that we studied them was to play a matching game with the cards I printed from here.

The boys also used those term to create maps of imaginary places. The places could be any way they wanted, as long as they had features like mountains, islands, plateaus, etc.

Benjamin created what he called “Whale Island”. It has the world’s largest gold mine and a gigantic chasm called “the big smelly crack” . He makes his mother so proud.

The finished maps

For math this week we played a game that I printed off here called Storm the Castle. It was loads of fun!!

The boys each had a paper knight that they had to get across a field and over a moat. The enemy in the castle (that would be me) hurled huge rocks (or coins, actually) over the castle walls. Each time a brave knight got hit he had to answer a math problem. (problems good for grades 1-3 came with the game, I just had to make up some for the older boys) If our hero answered correctly, he was allowed to proceed. A wrong answer cost him dearly. He had to move five spaces BACKWARDS on the board.

Closer view of the game. When they finally made it across the moat, they discovered that their enemy had a stash of M&Ms that they raided.  Following a true knightly code of chivalry they divided their spoils equally.

For our Bible reading we read from Proverbs, because we could use all the wisdom we can get. 🙂 Sorry there was no picture to go along with that. Or their catechism study. We reviewed the questions about the first two commandments.  Our hymn of the week was Alleluia Sing To Jesus.

The boys drew timeline characters to match some of the people we are studying.

From the left- Augustine, bought a few years ago in  a set; Celts by Nathaniel; Attila the Hun by Benjamin; King Arthur (in his golden armor) by Samuel.

To make the first day special, Mark stopped by Chick Fil A and got the boys some biscuits.  Mmmm. He was a little surprised when he came in from work with the biscuits and found out HE was being given an assignment!! Don’t worry- I took it easy on him. All he had to do was was color a king. Each member of our family colored a person to go on our bulletin board.

Samuel loved this game.

It is about the Celts in the Iron Age. Some of the stuff on there was just for fun, but it was very informative.

Nathaniel is enjoying reading some of his books online. Here he is reading Our Island Story FREE (!!) courtesy of the Baldwin Project.

On a sad note, our dog has disappeared. We have no idea what happened to our precious Hank. So our school mascot can no longer be the Cowdogs. So we have to settle for the Psycho Cats. (We would use Wildcats, but there is a local school that is the Wildcats. We have to be original.)

Don’t let her fool you into thinking she is all sweet and precious. She’s not always so cuddly-looking.

Now on to MY surprise. A few nights ago I was checking my Facebook page just before going to bed. John MacArthur sends out offers for free books or CDs every month. This month’s offer was hot off the press. Guess what it is?  A FREE HARDCOVER MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE IN ESV!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you tell I am a bit excited??? I have been waiting on this ever since I first heard it was coming out. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Reformation Study Bible. Mark has been hounding me and saying that reading Sproul’s notes are turning me into a Presbyterian.   Personally, I don’t see a problem with that. But, what Baptist church can trust a youth pastor with a non-Baptist wife? (I hope  no one is getting offended here. It is an on going joke between Mark and me) Seriously, I dropped my Bible. You would think that a fall of 3- 3 1/2 feet on a carpeted floor would not do much damage.  (I’m 5’2″, it was under my arm) But, it obviously CAN do damage.

I broke my sword. Now I am getting a brand new one and it is FREE!!! Jehovah Jireh!!

Wow. Just Wow.

I just finished Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley.  It is a tremendously good book. I have learned so much from it. Something I just read in the epilogue was eye-opening, toe stomping, and disheartening all at the same time. Here it goes:

Surely one of the more remarkable aspects of Christianity today is how few of these professed believers have ever seriously studied the history of their religion. In an earlier age adherents of one faith seldom encountered adherents of another. Few were required to defend their religion against the criticisms of  a rival faith. In our day, however, when mass media make the world our neighborhood, the ignorance of Christians is hard to justify.

The movement toward separation of church and state  has all but removed religion from public education. That is true. But even “Christian education” in many denominations has done little to give members any sort of adult understanding of the faith they profess to believe. Should we really be surprised, then, when today’s Christian so frequently blends gross errors with orthodox confession or defends some pagan practice as “Christian” conduct?

Wow. All I can say is wow. It is so disheartening to see how far we (professing Christians) are from what is taught in Scriptures. We have no one to blame but ourselves if we are the ones who are blending pagan practices, Eastern religions, entertainment, and choosing to practice things that are unBiblical and calling it “church”.  We have the entire Bible at our disposal and yet, often choose to allow things in our lives that are in direct contrast to what it says. Now more than ever our churches need to focus on the Bible, what we believe, and why we believe it. We need to set aside the feel-good, the “relevant”, and the entertaining and get back to caring about the fact that people are attending our churches, enjoying every moment of it, yet spending eternity in hell when they die.

Almost Ready

Just a few days to go. School. 2 out my 3 children are not happy. Of course, they would be happy never having school and having unlimited video game time. So, it looks like they will just have to stay unhappy. I am very excited about the new year. Nerd that I am I always enjoy learning new things. We are sticking pretty close to the same routines that we were doing last year. While I do like to try new things occasionally, there is just comfort in familiar things. So here is what our day will look like:

Mornings- Bible reading. Not really following any certain plan. I think we will stick mostly with New Testament and Proverbs.

Catechism- Still using Training Hearts Teaching Minds. I love this book! I cannot say enough good things about it. Amazon has a “Look in this book” for it. If you are even thinking of teaching the Shorter Catechism to your kids, read the intro to this book. Even if your not thinking about it, go ahead and read it, anyway. It might make you WANT to teach your children the Shorter Catechism.

Math- Still sticking with Math U See. I know that there are people who think it is too “simple”. Going through it with my kids I beg to differ. No, my kids do not usually spend 2-3 hours a day on math. No, they do not cry about math being “hard”. That, to me is part of the beauty of the program. My kids are understanding math to the point where  it doesn’t “feel” hard.  They really *get it. They do worksheets every single day that drill it into their heads, but do not kill the love of learning.  It is awesome.

English- Some changes are being made here. Benjamin and Samuel are still doing Shurley. We are doing it not right by the book, though. As a matter of fact, we are not using student books. I really am not too wild about the vocabulary and the writing assignments. We are using Writing Aids for writing and just using vocabulary from out TOG assignments. I still like having the jingles from Shurley. I still like having them classify sentences. I have not seen anything that cements parts of speech like Shurley.  Nathaniel is doing Learning Language Arts Through Literature. That is totally new to us.  It is taking some creativity to schedule it around Writing Aids. It is do-able, though. I love that he will learn to diagram sentences.   (told you I am a nerd)

History- Tapestry of Grace Year 2. Wow. We are studying from the Middle Ages to the American Revolution. That is so much to cover. There are some awesome reading assignments. I think my new favorite book-other than A Tale of Two Cities- is Men of Iron. I have discovered that I really like “boy books” better than “girl books” . Action, adventure, danger, chivalry, bravery- those are the things that to me make a great book.  We are going to be studying a lot of church history this year. To prepare, over the summer I have been reading Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley. I love this book, too. I really love that I got it at the Bible Outlet for 40 % off retail. I think I made the sales woman’s day when Mark held up the book and I literally gasped out loud with excitement.  I am also very excited about the art that we will be studying. During our second quarter of school, especially, we will be doing several art assignments.


Science- Thank goodness Botany is over! If you read my post from several months ago, you might be wondering where all the pictures from our plants are. Well, guess what? Almost every one of them died when we transplanted them. The few that didn’t got dug up or “watered” by our dog. So we are moving on to Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day.  Nathaniel is going to be doing Apologia Physical Science. He loved his science course last year. I assume the trend will continue.

Latin- Loved Latin for Children A last year. I really thought Samuel would need a year between Song School Latin and LfC A. His reading skills really took off last year and he is ready to move on to “big kid Latin”. So while he is doing that, the big guys are moving on to LfC B. Benjamin was looking at the new Latin History Reader and saying how it looked so hard. He said, “I’ll never get all this!” So I had to remind him that at this point last year he thought that his Latin looked too hard and he would “never get it”. He made good grades, and did not have too much trouble with translation. The boys absolutely LOVE Headventure Land, Classical Academic Press’s fun way to practice their Latin. (technically you can practice Greek and Spanish too, but all we have done so far is Latin)

Music- I made it from grades 5-12 in the school band and never really learned to read music very well.  I can read notes on the treble staff , IF they are not above or below the staff. I can’t tell you anything on a bass clef. So we are using some stuff we found online to learn to read music. Nathaniel has said he wants a cornet. I would like for him to have some knowledge of reading music to make learning an instrument go more smoothly. We are also going to be focusing on composers. I really like Ambleside Online for their links to composer and art appreciation studies. There are several things that we plan on using, just not necessarily the suggested studies for this year, at the time they are suggested. Still studying hymns from The Center for Church Music.

There is a possibility of adding Greek to the mix. Samuel and Benjamin have asked repeatedly to learn Greek. (Well, now that it is almost time to start, Benjamin thinks maybe he has changed his mind) If we do it, will be added after the rest of the year starts. We will use Song School Greek. Judging by Song School Latin, it should be wonderful.

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