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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Am Not Missing

Just sick. I was also feeling kind of down. We arrived at our church (which is renting space in another building, we are still seeking our own church building) on Sunday to find swastikas, Ku Klux Klan and satanic graffiti all over the building and benches. It is not the first time there has been graffiti on the building, but it's the first time it was so hateful. So, we had a sober and kind of subdued opening of our service. I don't think it had anything to do with our church, although we do have our sign up with the other organizations who use the building, but it was still hard to focus on worship at first when that was what greeted us. I'll write more about it later, I took some pictures just because it was so shocking to us, I don't know if I'll post them.

So, I apologize for the missing Finished Object Friday post, and for not posting my Menu Plan Monday. We've been fighting illness in the house for a few weeks, and I was just taking my vitamins, drinking a lot of fluids and trying to get rest, while still teaching the children and trying to get the bare minimum done here. Well, we all finally succumbed last week, and it's been a rough time.

The good thing about the homeschooling is that even sick days don't have to be complete goof off days, because even if we don't get all our goals met, and even if we're too tired or unwell to apply ourselves to every topic, we can still do pertinent reading, and some of our projects. The bad side is that the teacher, is dragging out of bed and a little short tempered. I finally set some "sick goals" and decided that anything we did more than that was a bonus.

We are getting ready to mummify our chicken, though, and the children are really excited about that. We will not be making the canopic jars, because mummification smells bad enough, we don't need rotting organs in spices and oil lying around the house.

Elijah, who has not been the most academically minded of our children, said something yesterday that just made my day. I had given him and Amira some coloring to do, and then told them to pick a book to read while I worked with their brothers on their math. When they finished, he asked what they should do, and I said to go play for a little while. He asked in a very sad voice, "Aren't we going to have school?" I assured him that we would, that afternoon, and he was happy again. I asked him if he liked school that much, and he said he did. It was hugely gratifying to hear that. Especially because I'm not really a crafty mom, so I have to really remember how important those are, and not drop them from the Little Saints lesson, if it isn't convenient for me.

By the way, I would really strongly recommend the Little Saints books for any Christian parents doing pre-school or kindergarten with their children. If you come from a tradition that does not venerate the saints, it is very simple to work around that, there are only a few lessons which are explicitly about particular saints, and you can either extend one of the other lessons, leave out the parts that are doctrinally different from your faith, or just substitute something else for that week's lesson. It does follow the church seasons, which for us is a plus, but you can emphasize that or not according to your preference.

The other set of books I have, the Image of God Series, is a wonderful religious education tool, but this one is far more Catholic/Orthodox. We've been using the lessons from that for their morning crafts and coloring, and I think it is better suited for that or for a Sunday School than for religious education in a homeschool/private school setting. To me, it seems like a homeschool or private school that is intentional in its religious teaching wouldn't need something like this, as the "subject" of religion is largely integrated in the other activities (e.g, the books read, the songs sung, etc). Basically, it reinforces what I'm already teaching them. I do think it would be a great Sunday School program, though. The first lesson is on the oneness of God and the Trinity, and it has various levels of exercises for different ages to cover the same lesson and concept. There was a connect the dots shamrock, a set of images out of sequence that were cut out and put in the right order to show how to make the sign of the cross for the youngest, the next age had a connect the dots of a cross and introduced the Glory Be prayer and the shamrock was used to illustrate St. Patrick's teaching on the Trinity, there were similarly more complicated tasks for the kindergarten level book. The parent book has the basic outline of the lesson plan, the concept to be taught and some suggestions on ways to talk about them and activities which would show the concepts to the children. Although it does seem intended for homeschool parents, I really think it could be better used as a Sunday School curriculum. The preschool books probably could be used at home for preschool without any other materials, though I am really sold on Little Saints, so it would be an additional book for me, but the kindergarten book doesn't cover the letters and numbers and seasons and calendar as much as I think is necessary, so as far as I'm concerned you'd need another book.

Two of the story books we've gotten that the children are loving (and that express our world view, to use the current jargon), are The Weight of a Mass (which is a fictional adaptation of a true story), and Angel in the Waters. Both of these have thoroughly enchanted our children and they are reading them over and over. Even the non-readers have memorized either parts of the whole and quote them frequently. They have beautiful pictures and sweet stories.

Anyway, I will post the menu plan for the benefit of my in-laws who will be coming this weekend, so if you check back, you should see at least a partial weekly menu. I also have received my swap boxes and need to post about that.

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How horrible that must have been.
I am very sorry that happened to your church and you and the family.
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