I have remembered this quote since the first time I heard it many years ago, long before I had children. If it gave me a lump in my throat then, it makes me cry now. It is so, so true. I was texting Therese late one night last week trying to explain what it is like to be a mother whose daughter is growing up and away. That prompted me to look up this quote again. It aired on ER in the second season. Dr. Lewis was talking about Little Susie (the niece she is raising until her sister reclaims her):
"I always knew you loved your children, but I never realized how much you fell in love with them. Little Susie was like a story book, every smile a new page to be poured over, touched, remembered...I loved my storybook. For the first time in a long time, I didn't feel so alone."
You do fall in love with your children, deeply in love. And you don't fall out of love with them just because they get older. Like all love affairs, the ones you have with your children hurt, but unlike most love affairs, it is very hard to express to other people what you feel and why you feel it. Also, with all other love affairs, you are constantly growing closer. With your children, you are always growing farther apart (in proximity), at least you are if you're doing it right. You have to be letting them know that it's okay to go - that they'll be fine and that you'll be fine. But it's hard...
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Once you start using tools like these, it's easy to get lost in the results! There are so many opportunities for discussion that arise naturally with the kids!
Using the Bible Dictionary was one of our favorite parts of doing this study. I am always stressing to my kids that we can't read or interpret the Bible as if it were written in English because it wasn't. Our priest, Fr. Troy, is excellent about telling us in his homilies what various words mean in the original languages and how certain words can actually be translated in various ways, so my kids are not strangers to the idea that the same word can have entirely different meanings or connotations. Being able to actually discover this for themselves was new to them, though.
All in all, we have really enjoyed using this GrapeVine study. For our purposes, there was more included than I needed, but that is because we already use a different Bible Study daily (one I am really happy with, but which really only deals with the narrative - it doesn't dig deeper). This study adds just what we lack in the other. They complement perfectly! If you are looking for a gentle way to introduce Biblical study tools to your children, I really recommend GrapeVine!
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Wednesday, November 11, 2015
In retrospect, I would not have given this review product to Therese. She didn't need it, and even though she had fun with it, she didn't benefit from it. She has had plenty of critical thinking course material in the past, and, further, this is just how her brain works. The child of mine who really needs this course is Nicholas (12). He is a literalist to the nth degree. I think that comes as a result of his ADHD/OCD/Tourette's personality. This course *will* challenge him, and he will learn very valuable lessons from it -- but not yet. It is recommended for grades 9-12, and that is definitely the right age for it. Thus, we will definitely be bringing it out again in a few years.
As with everything I have ever used from Critical Thinking Co., I can't recommend this set highly enough. The material is covered succinctly yet thoroughly. It is presented in a visually interesting and stimulating way. It was enough to keep my gifted and experienced-with-the-material 14 year-old interested, but it will be non-threatening enough for Nicholas (described above) when his time comes (gifted, but 2e). You can't really ask for much more than that. I fully anticipate using it with the twins, too.
Critical Thinking Co. provided Crew members with several things to review, so be sure to click the banner below to check all of them out! Then come back in a few days for my very last review of 2015.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Saturday, November 7, 2015
It's been awhile since I did a "Random Things About Me" post (it's been two years, in fact, and if you want to read that one - click here), so why not?
1. I have an obsessive personality. Seriously obsessive. It takes several forms, but primarily two. Number one, I can't stop thinking about things. My mind gets stuck on things and won't stop playing them over and over in my head. The noise hurts and is a debilitating distraction at times. Number two, I become very obsessive about things I like very quickly. When I take on a new hobby, I dive in headfirst with both feet (I know, but whatever). With any hobby, I reach SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) in an obscenely short period of time. Think cross stitch fabric, lace yarn, lace shawl patterns, ebooks, puzzle books (i.e., crossword puzzles) and makeup (especially MAC lipstick and various eye shadow palettes). I am beyond blessed to have a husband who is more than patient with me. After two decades I keep waiting for that patience to go, but it never does. I don't understand it. I have lost patience with me. As an example, he pretty much outfitted me with a custom closet to house and showcase my makeup collection. And he painted it pink.
2. I always have several projects that I am dying to get off the ground percolating on the back burner. I just don't seem to have the time or energy. A couple are homeschool related. The one I am most excited about right now is not. My primary enemy is sloth. When I have free time I want to knit or do puzzles. As it happens, though, I just don't have much free time.
3. I have worked for edHelper since 2007. I started out working for edHelperBaby when Russ (the owner of both sites) solicited his subscribers for applications to write for edHelperBaby. After I had written blog posts for that site for awhile, he offered me a job creating materials for edHelper. It is the best job in the world. My hours are 100% flexible. The work is variable and rarely demanding, but usually interesting. My boss is wonderful. I am overpaid for what I do. If I thought I could give up what is essentially free money, I would do it, because I really hate being stapled to my computer 24/7 (the work may be easy, but it is time consuming). I just can't justify not contributing to our family when I have had this opportunity handed to me.
4. Almost a year ago, I lost the friendship that has meant more to me than any other in my life, apart from Henry and Analisa. It is still like an open wound. The way it ended reminds me of how unfair I have always found no-fault divorce laws. It doesn't matter how much one person may still want to be married. If the other person wants to end the marriage, that's it. It's over.
5. Podcasts! I have written about my favorite podcasts here, here, and here. Well, it's been almost a year since I talked about them, but that doesn't mean I've stopped listening. Hardly. I have a whole batch of new favorites (but am still loyal to the old ones!). My absolute favorite is Futility Closet. I've linked to the website because it is amazing, but you can find the podcast in the sidebar. No words for how much I love this podcast.
Lore is another huge favorite. Aaron Mahnke is a guy who cares about his podcast. It's not so much creepy as it is atmospheric. I listen to these pretty much the hour they are published. I can't believe that I used to be all about delayed gratification.
Astonishing Legends can be a little hit or miss, but it has had some really interesting episodes. It definitely meets my criteria for one of my favorite podcasts, though; first and foremost is - do I get really excited when I see a new episode?
There are bunch more new podcasts in my playlist, so if you're interested in what else I've been listening to, let me know and I'll do a post on them.
So that's a few more random things about me. /procrastination
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
The next tab is vocabulary from the video (back to Chemistry!):
Next comes a multiple choice quiz on the video just watched:
And finally a short answer section:
How We Used it and What We Thought
As I have already indicated, we love Standard Deviants. Because of the humorous way in which the material is delivered, my kids remember everything they learn. They are also able to deal with material that is technically probably "too hard" for them (I'm talking to you, Chemistry!). Not only don't they mind science (a subject that is neither their nor my favorite), but they beg to do it. They have their favorite "characters" (instructors), and they get so happy when they see them pop up in the various videos. Probably more than the twins (10), Nicholas (12) is in it for the science. We had started Chemistry last year, but then ended up completing Earth Science and Nutrition instead after doing Chemistry for only three month. Nicholas *begged* to get back to Chemistry this year, and was so happy when we did. He enjoys the humorous way that the material is presented, but some of the subtleties go over his head (not a surprise given his general literal approach to everything). The twins, on the other hand, are constantly on the lookout for the next big gag (which doesn't mean that they don't get the science - they do!).
We didn't just do science, though. On thing I really appreciate about Standard Deviants is that they teach things that I just...don't. Take English Composition, for example. Nicholas and the twins are too young for a formal course like this (which Therese (14) did last year), but there are aspects of it that are great for them and that I can use when, for whatever reason, I can't work with them. One subset of the English Composition course is "American Literary Periods." It's the kind of thing that doesn't really fit in with any curriculum that I would use, but that I find it really beneficial for the kids to know. Really, though, if I had to pick one thing that I think Standard Deviants excels at, it's making science really, really fun for kids who don't naturally love science.
When my kids sit down to use Standard Deviants, they just gather around the computer and watch the videos. It's very laid back, just like the instructors. Sometimes we do the quiz and sometimes we don't. More often than not I'll just have them narrate the lesson to me orally. This is a completely no-fuss curriculum. I really can't recommend it highly enough.
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