Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Friday, May 21, 2010


Okay, I just want to post! I don't have anything to say, though, really...

I planted some more of the garden. I really only have one section left that's ready to be planted now. It's pretty small this year. I've actually done more than just plant things and walk away, which is a big improvement over last year. I've weeded twice, and watered it every day!
I've planted:
-onion sets
-sugar snap peas
-snow peas

I'm not sure what I will finish with. I think maybe garlic, and...hmm...beets!? Yesterday, I read a blog post in which someone said that beets taste like dirt. Someone left a comment agreeing that they do indeed taste like dirt. I must like dirt, because I like beets. And beet greens. I wish I could eat some right now. Wilted, with butter and salt. Yummy!

Yesterday I finished cutting out all the pieces for the 2 remaining rabbit cages, and started to make door latches for them. I still have 6 latches to go. The wire for the latches if very stiff, but I think I'm winning the battle. I do have sore hand muscles, though, which is a new thing for me.

Now I have to go and do laundry. About 15 loads of it, I think. So, that's it for today!
Wouldn't these posts be so much more interesting with PICTURES!? Yes, I would like a new camera...but I would like a lot of things...and I don't need a lot of I'm just going to wait, pray about priorities, and see what happens. Now off to the never ending laundry pile! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Teaching a visual-spatial learner

This was day 2 of my new approach to educating my 5 yo. I feel a bit like I'm going backwards, but it's actually been a lot of fun. I'm trying to incorporate some ideas I've gotten from reading online. I'm trying to keep in mind that VSL's tend to learn best when what they're learning is based in the context of their experience. Well, that seems reasonable. I think anyone would!

Yesterday, I divided a piece of paper into 6 sections and wrote the name of a family member in each one. I had her trace each name and draw a picture of each member of the family. That was it for the "reading" lesson. I guess it covered handwriting as well. I then asked her questions like, "How many people are in our family?" "How many children?" "How many parents?" "How many girls?" "How many boys?" That was it for the math lesson. That really seemed like going backwards, but I could see her "wheels" turning as she categorised all of us into different groups. Then I hung the "poster" up in the dining room so we can talk about it and see our names there. One other thing that was actually VERY funny - Dani drew something in each picture that each of us liked. She drew me sitting on a couch, because that's what I like. ;) She's got me all figured out!
We then "read" a book together that had text something like this, "A cat...a tan cat...a tan fat cat...a tan fat cat ran...a tan fat cat ran fast..." You get the idea.

Today, we reviewed our poster from yesterday. After that I gathered a bunch of art catalogs, clothing catalogs, and seed catalogs. I had Dani cut out pictures of things. Things like flower, hat, shirt, dress, shoes, bag, apple, pear, corn, peas, cat, and some longer words like watermelon, raspberries and elephant. We glued each picture to the back of a recipe card and wrote the word on the other side. So, guess which words she was able to read?? Apple, blackberry, elephant and necklace. Hmmm... yep, she's different than the others! What an adventure I'm on! :) God is good, and I'm really enjoying something I thought I'd seriously dislike! Thank you, God!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tadpole Update, Visual-Spatial Learners and Random Stuff

I wanted to post a quick update on Hattie's tadpoles. I had read online that after they hatch they don't move around for up to 5 days, but it was hard to believe they weren't dying. Sure enough, however, after about 4 or 5 days they did begin to swim around. We changed the water, removing the dead ones in the process, and fed them some goldfish flakes. They have really grown a lot since then. Soon we could see eyes, then nostrils, and when they swim upside down we can see their intestines. In time we expect to see their hind legs developing. It's been a lot of fun watching them grow. I just tried to upload a new video of them 3 times, but it wouldn't work. Bummer...

We're winding down our school year now. I think everyone is feeling relief that we'll have a break from the "classroom" for the summer. That reminds me, if anyone who reads this has any advice/information on whole word reading, or visual-spatial learners, please send it my way. I have a hunch I'm going to need it. My youngest, it is clear, isn't going to be learning by the same methods that have worked with the other 3. We used phonics very heavily with the others and they seemed to quickly get the idea and then were off on the reading adventure and learning to spell by the same methods.

My 5 year old is on the young side for reading, so I'm not overly concerned, but she's been learning (or being taught, I should say) her letter names and sounds since she was 3. She's been pretty extensively exposed to them through a variety of methods at least 3 times each. She has finger painted them, glued dried beans on them, molded them out of play dough, printed them, watched videos of them, sung them...and still she doesn't know all of her letter names. She knows even fewer sounds. Today we were attempting to sound out some three letter words (such as bed, had, gum, run, dug). She was getting upset because she didn't know them, and I was trying to show her how to sound them out. She looked up at me and said, "Mom, I don't get it!" It's clear that indeed, she doesn't. The curious thing is that she can read some words. I don't know how, because she clearly has no idea what sound the individual letters in the words make. And I have very little by way of ideas, as of yet, for helping her. She told me that she knows the word bed because it looks like a bed...hmmm.

I have found one book and some websites that may help me. It's clear that it's going to take more time and effort than it has with the other kids. I'm encouraged by some of the great strengths that her learning style may have, though. I've read more than once that VSL's (visual-spatial learners) learn skills in sort of a hap hazard way, being advanced in some ways and slower in others. They may not build skill upon skill in ways that other learners do, but once they "get" it, it's there permanently. It often seems like turning a key. One day it isn't there, the next it is. Okay, yes, I can see that with her. There have been times when that's happened already, and it really took me by surprise. So, I guess I won't be able to "measure" her progress like I've been able to with the other kids. It will be somewhat of an exercise in faith for me. It will take more persistence that I'm used to having. I'm not exactly known as a patient person. I like to "see" progress, and I like to see it now. So, please keep me in prayer! Thank you! Okay, enough about that. Sorry for the long post, but I guess I'm using it to "process" what I've learned today.

As far as the little homestead goes, things are moving ahead at a snails pace. We've planted onions...yep, just onions. They're beginning to come up, which is exciting, but I sure do need to get the rest of the seeds in the ground. Peas, I think, will be tomorrow. Dan says he's going to get some planting done when he gets home from work tomorrow as well. We've built a second rabbit cage just like the first, and have 2 more to go. We finished the new chicken run. It turned out quite nice, but it was a lot harder working with the fencing that I'd expected. We chose horse fence, 10.5 gauge woven wire, 2 x 4 inch squares, 5 feet tall. It's very rigid and heavy. It is really hard to get a nice tight fence, and to get it to follow the uneven terrain without leaving gaps is quite a challenge. However, it was great preparation for putting up the fencing for the goats. That will come after the rabbit room is all set up in the barn. So, yep...things are coming together slowly but surely.

All the children are enjoying the summer weather. We've slept in the camper (right here at home) once, and are planning a trip to visit my family, especially my grandparents, at the end of the month. The kids and I will be staying for a while, helping with their garden and visiting with them. As they get older, I know my time is limited. I really want the chance to know them better before it's too late. I also want the children to have some memories of them.

Okay, that's enough...for now!