It's already that time of year where I can't remember what it felt like to have free time, except we have added more activities this year, so I *really* can't remember what free time felt like! I can't remember what it felt like, but I know I miss it...
You know, I wonder how many people actually have that real friend who they can call when they are despairing - when everything is going to hell in a hand basket and when they feel like they have no one to turn to. I know some people have that person for sure, but I do find myself wondering if such a friend is an urban legend.
I have always taught my kids (like other parents do) that life isn't fair and that there is absolutely no point in wishing it otherwise. I have never tried to parent them "fairly," because they each have very different personalities and very different needs. For some of my kids, I can see that lesson paying off. Therese suffered an injustice last week. There's no point in going into it, but she got screwed. She was really upset for a few days. Then she picked herself up, enumerated the good aspects of the situation, realized that it was the way it was and she wasn't going to be able to change it, and she got on with her life. She's fine now.
I don't have SAD, in fact, I love the winter. I love short days and long, cold nights. I do get SAD to the extent that getting back into the swing of not being home always brings me down, though (introvert problems!). The solution to that problem is just not to wallow in it. I know that depression is a clinical condition. With my family history, how could I not? I also know, though, that so much related to feelings is a *decision*. That's one reason I get so irritated when people say things like, "I just wasn't in love with him anymore" as a rationale for divorce. Love may start out as a feeling, but its continuation is a decision. Similarly, sadness is a legitimate feeling. Deciding whether or not to indulge it is just that - a decision. We are not ruled by our feelings. That's why I don't buy the argument (regarding sex) that kids are going to do it anyway - let's give them all the condoms they can carry and wish them well. We have mastery over our feelings. We decide when and how much to indulge them. We can (and should) acknowledge them, but we should never allow them mastery over our lives. If they *are* taking over our lives (any feelings), we need professional help.
I realize I'm probably babbling - it's just that last week was a hard one with a few things happening both to Therese and me that made us, well, sad. We both realized independently, though, that we don't have time to be sad. Life marches on. We acknowledge our sadness and then ask ourselves what we are going to do about it. In many cases, you can sit around thinking and talking and writing poetry about how sad you are, or you can get up and join the human race and live your life proactively. Make things happen. Offer up your sadness and get over yourself. I only wish I had enough time to sit around thinking about how sad I am! I barely have enough time to write this blog post!
N.B., I'm not talking about people who are sad because of a legitimate life event, like the death of a loved one. I'm talking about people who give into that impulse that nags at your brain that says, "you're sad - aren't you sad? Do you realize you feel sad?" Really, I'm talking to melancholics like myself. We have to fight that impulse all the time, but fight it we really must, or we will become absolutely insufferable to live with. I can't even stand myself when I succumb to that voice.
Funnily enough, another thing I always tell my kids is that nothing good ever comes of being angry. I say that because, well, I have a bad temper! I should listen to myself. I lost my temper (which is rarer these days, thanks be to God) and screamed at Nicholas. I scratched my throat in the process (or did something that makes it hard to talk without needing to drink constantly). Too bad I have to give a 20-30 minute talk tonight. Joke's on me...
Back to our regularly scheduled day...
The other food craving I've been having/indulging lately is smoothies. I typically make them thusly:
- Frozen fruit (any mixture)
- 1 banana
- Protein Powder
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Spinach or spring mix
- Almond milk with coconut
If I eat (drink) this mid-morning, I'm typically full until dinner. It is *so* good. You don't taste the green stuff at all (and I put in a lot). It helps solve two problems for me: I don't like to eat breakfast and I sometimes forget to eat lunch (especially once the school year gets going). It doesn't hurt that it tastes *really* good!
- Astronomy 2nd Edition Textbook - 14 newly updated lessons with more color and more activities than before (the 2nd Edition is on the left):
Here it's very easy to see the addition of new activities: they are now interspersed throughout each Lesson, rather than placed only at the end as before. This picture shows the same place in the Moon chapter in each edition (2nd Edition is on top):
- Astronomy 2nd Edition Notebooking Journal - for grades 3/4-6. Beautifully updated with full-color (note that in the sample picture below, the Notebooking Journal on the right is the one for Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics. I don't have the 1st Edition Notebooking Journal for Astronomy, but I did want to show you a direct comparison between the two editions' Notebooking Journals. The new ones are just stunning!).
- Astronomy 2nd Edition Junior Notebook Journal - K - 2nd/3rd. Compared to the standard Notebooking Journal, the activities are guided toward younger children, with more coloring pages, primary writing lines, and easier overall activities. The Journal still supports the textbook, though, with pages that correlate with each chapter/lesson. The Junior Notebook Journal is a wonderful way for younger children to participate in science with their older siblings without having the pressure of too much writing!
- Astronomy 2nd Edition Audio CD - this MP3 CD is the audio book of the textbook read by Jeannie Fulbright herself! Now, in our family, I do the science as a read aloud, but that's not always possible or desirable in every family. If you have a child who prefers to be read to, who is a slow or reluctant reader, or who has a learning disability related to reading, this CD is a wonderful addition to the standard textbook!
How We Used Astronomy
Several years ago, we read Apologia's Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 1st Edition. At that time, we did many of the activities in the book (my children were more in the target age for this series, which is K-6th grades). This time through, we are enjoying the book as a read aloud primarily, as Mary-Catherine (11, 6th grade) works through the newly updated Notebooking Journal. I won't prevaricate: we have used Apologia's Notebooking Journals before, and while my kids have liked them, they haven't loved them. The new editions are so much better! I am sure that color makes them more expensive to produce, but it doesn't seem to me like the price to the consumer has increased (don't quote me on that - it's just a mom's observation based on what I remember from buying them in the past!). The color makes them more appealing, though. Here is Mary-Catherine working on a Lesson Six (The Moon) crossword puzzle (tomorrow we start Lesson 8 - Space Rocks. I think we're all really looking forward to that one!):
The 2nd Edition text is just beautiful. The kids (13, 11, and 11) have noticed the difference. Right away they pulled the 1st Edition off the Apologia shelf (yep! A whole shelf!) to compare the two. There is less text on each page and more beautiful illustrations. Plus, because it's updated, you can now see relevant dates for upcoming things like solar eclipses! The previous edition still lists dates like 2007 and 2008!
If for any reason (and I personally can't think of one) you have shied away from Apologia's fabulous elementary Astronomy curriculum in the past, I strongly urge you to give this new 2nd Edition a look. It's just gorgeous, as are the supporting Notebooking Journals. By all means, click the banner below to see what other Crew members had to say, too!
I was able to download each of them to my computer and then use OneNote to further organize our Astronomy lessons! It took all of about two minutes - it was wonderful not to have to hunt down supplementary resources myself!
How about spelling? Spelling is one of those things that frustrates me about homeschooling because no one book is just right. The list may be right, but the activities don't work for that particular child. Books that are *only* lists are way too much work for me, because my 6th grade son still really likes activities. Well, only yesterday (August 30, 2016 as of this writing), CHSH-Teach.com uploaded the first 6th grade spelling unit for me (okay, it wasn't for me, but it felt very personal!) -- all 121 pages of it! Here is just one of the exercises that jumped out at me. Begin a lover of word puzzle books, I really appreciated seeing something fun and different for my son to do!
One of the most delightful aspects of the site has to be the "Curriculum Treasures from the Past." Here you will find vintage textbooks and readers. Can you find them elsewhere? Sure, but why bother looking when they are all gathered here for you. First Lessons in Geography has to be my favorite! "How many continents are there?" "Two." "What are they?" "The Eastern and the Western." And I thought it was going far back when my parents learned that there were five continents ("Eurasia")! So delightfully vintage!
If you like to supplement your existing curriculum, or if you get bored with your existing curriculum (I'm so guilty on both counts), you will definitely want to check out this Download Club. If you're one of those social types (not guilty here, I'm afraid), the site even boasts forums, groups, and a community blog. It really is far more than just another worksheet warehouse (far, far more).
Don't take my word for it, though. Visit the site and check out all of the free resources and then click the banner below to read all of the other Crew reviews. I'm willing to bet you won't be able to resist!
Moving from left to right, the shapes signify the following: a journal entry, a lyric or verse, a message, a confession, an example of God moving in your life, a lesson learned, a prayer, a thank you or adoration, and actions (something God wants you to do). For kids who want to journal but may not know how to start, or for kids who especially want to keep a spiritual or Bible-based journal, this is an *ideal* option. Even for kids who may have been wanting to learn how to art-journal but are unsure how to begin, this journal is a great beginning step.
The number of ways you can customize the journal is endless. For girls, it is a chance to use their undoubtedly large collection of colored pens. Adding stickers is a great touch. For kids who don't necessarily want to journal these prompts, you can work with them to substitute different prompts for the shapes, while keeping the essential spirit of the journal intact (i.e., for Catholics, journaling about a saint studied during the week and/or a virtue exemplified by that saint would be one excellent option). For kids who really resist journaling, only asking them to fill in half of the shapes one day and half of the shapes the next day (in the course of the once-a-week journaling) is a way to show them the joy of journaling. Really, it becomes addictive quickly!
Mary-Catherine and Spiritual Circle Journal
I had originally thought of Therese when I saw this product online, but when it came to the house, it was Mary-Catherine with whom it resonated the most. She loved the design of the journal and wanted to start using it right away.
She had no trouble remembering what was supposed to go in each shape, nor did she have trouble deciding what to write. She did decide fairly early on that it made sense for her to make a couple of entries a week, rather than the once a week suggested by the author (but that will vary by child).
If you're unsure of exactly how to use the journal once you receive it, fear not! There is a three page parent/teacher/leader guide to explain the journal more fully. In the guide, the author explains her purpose in creating the journal, gives ideas for how to begin your child on the journaling process, and explains the importance of writing vs. typing in developing memory retention skills. Even if you get the journal and want to dive right in, I would strongly encourage reading this valuable introduction.
39 other Crew members have been using the Spiritual Circle Journal for Kids & Teens, so be sure to click here to see what they had to say!
Multigrain Flaxseed Wrap with garlic hummus, red onion, avocado, red pepper, tomato, spring mix, and red chili paste. I find myself *craving* this sandwich all the time lately! It is so good, so easy, and so incredibly guilt-free.