Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Science and Salamanders

Today in science we were learning about salamanders. The lesson brought me back to my childhood days. I lived in a rental house on a island. It was home for a short time, but I remember the salamanders. They lived in my bathroom where it was damp and dark. We kept the door shut tight hoping to not allow salamanders in the rest of the house. I don't remember if that worked or not. I do remember reaching around the door to flick on the light as quickly as I could and watch all the salamanders scatter to hide. I remember being scared that one would get me while I was stuck on the potty. I was only 5 at the time. The most memorable event in that bathroom was the night I tried to catch one. With a margarine tub in hand I headed to the bathroom. There was a small little green salamander in the shower, I watched it and then slammed the margarine tub on to it. To my dismay it's tail flew off and started twitching and flicking all over the shower floor. I screamed and ran from the bathroom, where I melted down thinking I had killed the poor tiny salamander. Tears streaming down my face I realized I should probably go get the margarine tub and bury the yucky dead creature. As I lifted the plastic container I was shocked to find a living salamander run from it's prison and escape down the shower drain. That memory is forever etched in my brain. That was the day I learned that salamanders can loose their tails or even their legs and they will grow back. So today as my daughter was learning about pond life and all that salamanders do I flash backed to the little island house. It made my skin crawl thinking about it. Yes, God's creatures are unique and amazing. Growing back appendages is pretty neat, but some creatures are still just yucky! When I told my 9 year old, my memory, her face contorted and she shivered thinking about it. We are both very happy that we live far from salamanders and we can go into our bathroom without fear of meeting any creatures!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Blog Support

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Reading to Writing Connections for Homeschool


I love when authors include great tools and study guides to go with their books.  Susan Marlow is my daughter's favorite author, and now my sons.  She has amazing adventure books for girls and boys.  What I love about her books are that they are full of adventure and Christian based.  They are not overtly preachy, but you know that the characters believe in Christ and at times they will remember a verse to help them when they are scared or facing a trial, or perhaps they think a prayer as they face the horse thieves or danger.  I also love that she has lapbooks for beginnings series and for older series, study guides for each book.  The study guides are free! She also runs a blog for one of the main characters Andi.  On the blog she does trivia.  Readers and fans can answer questions to win prizes and they can write fan stories to be placed on her blog using characters from the established books.  My FAVORITE thing she does are her writing contests each year.  The deadline is every Dec.

Last year I used her tools on her site for my 3rd grader to go through and develop a story and plot.  She wrote two stories as her writing curriculum and entered them into the contest for her age category.  She actually WON FIRST PLACE.  That's  my girl!  Her story was then published in a collection called Beneath the Western Sky.  She won a print copy of her book, cash, a poster, but most of all she gained confidence and purpose in her writing.  Now as a 9 year old published author she loves writing and sees it as something she can do the rest of her life.

Look for the contest and have your children work on writing, editing and submitting stories.

We often read books and then think up our own endings to write.  When we recently went to the Humane Society on a field trip we learned about a cat that was turned it because it no longer matched the house decor.  My kids then came home and wrote a story about that cat from it's perspective.

Another activity we do in the car or at the dinner table is making a story together.  I may start telling a story, each child adds to the story. Doing it orally is helpful before getting it on paper. My younger ones are learning to be creative, develop a story and characters before they are ready to really write. My older daughter can get all her ideas out orally plot it out on a diagram and then write it down, learning the revision process.

How do you incorporate writing in your home-school or daily life?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Honor Your Husband

As a stay at home mom it's easy to get bogged down in all we do. Let's face it our job never ends.  From the minute we open our eyes in the morning till we fall into bed at night, and even in the middle of the night, we are caring for our children, running our home.  It's demanding.  I can easily get into the mindset that I have it harder than my husband.  I can say things like, "Well at least he gets to talk to adults... At least he gets to leave the house and shower every day and go to the bathroom without children following him." That mindset is not helpful in our homes and it does not honor all our husbands do.

My husband works a full time job and then comes home and works from home into the wee hours of the morning.  He provides for our family so that I CAN stay home.  We have a roof over our head, clothes on our backs, food on our table and no bill collectors calling because he works hard.  As his wife I need to let him know I appreciate all he does.  I need to spread that appreciation to my children so they understand why Daddy is so tired and they thank him for his hard work too.

This week or weekend I challenge you to do something special for your husband to let him know that you and the kids appreciate his hard work. We made a cake and put a little sign in it that the kids made, thanking daddy for his hard work and telling him he's the #1 Dad!  We had to wait till about 7:30 at night for him to come home from work to share a supper and the desert with him.  Instead of singing "Happy Birthday" we sang "Thank you for all your work".  I could see in his face that he appreciated it.  That he knew he was loved and appreciated.  It doesn't have to be extragent.  Ours sure wasn't, but you should let him know you're thankful.


Ephesians 5:33
However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects (honors) her husband.