Prayer for Junker and Hermiston/Ashley families

This has been a hard couple of days. We were informed via email late Sunday night that the father of a friend of ours from church had drowned on a lake and our former youth pastor was still missing. Details were slow to trickle in. What we did know is that these two men died as heroes, swimming out a life vest to a middle schooler who was struggling in the water. I went to a prayer meeting last night at church. I found out this morning that around the time of the prayer meeting's closure, Nathan's body had been found. There is much to pray for still. The timing of this will never be understood. There are many special family days - birthdays, baby dedication and anniversary - that will forever surround this event. My heart is heavy for what these two families will be going through for the next few weeks, months and years. But, God is Good!!!!! Even in the shadows, God shines through. We were reminded at our prayer meeting last night that it is time to praise the LORD.

Al leaves behind two grown children, four grandchildren, and his wife. Please pray for these wonderful, Christian family members. His daughter's birthday is Thursday, the day before his funeral. She is a very tender-hearted girl, very much a daddy's girl. This is very difficult for her. Pray God's unexplainable peace for her. His wife witnessed the entire event. Pray that God would erase the unnecessary details from her mind.

Nathan leaves behind his wife and four children. His oldest turns six on Thursday, his youngest a mere four months old, and who was dedicated in church on Sunday morning. It was also their wedding anniversary on Sunday. Words are beyond me in this situation. I cannot put my mind around my friend, now a widow at such a young age. Her main ambition in life has been to be a stay-home mom. Pray with me that God would provide for her so that she might be able to continue doing so. I don't know how it is possible, but everything is possible with God. Nathan's wife and children also witnessed this whole event. Pray that God would protect their minds from the visions, and that the children would not remember this event, but that the older two will remember enough of their Dad to share him with their younger two siblings. And for Nathan's wife - pray for God's peace. May we remember these men for their servant hearts and their constant pointing to Jesus as the only way to heaven.



So our first day on summer break (except for the fact that we are doing science each morning) turned out to be grey, cold and wet after a rainy weekend. I decided to let the rules slide and let them watch DVDs for much of the day. They did get bored, however, as I was busy in my planning for next year. The older princesses decided to do some face painting. Witness the results.

Princess L Funnies

So Princess L is just naturally funny. Picture with me these scenarios will you.

First, the girls and I were invited to lunch at the new home of some good friends. They have an extremely steep driveway. Most of the kids were across the cul-de-sac enjoying the neighbors front yard tree tire swing. Princess E was with Princess M on our friends' driveway. She put Princess M on one of those small kid bikes - the kind with no pedals that they move with their feet. But Princess M got herself pointed down the driveway and started to take off faster, and faster. Princess E started to run down the driveway to catch her and ended up diving after her at the bottom. They both crashed and got hurt. My friend, who'd been outside and witnessed it, brought Princess M in to me with a bloody arm and toe. She went back out to be with Princess E who had banged up her arm and her ankle. I got Princess M cleaned up and headed outside to see how Princess E was. She has sitting at the end of the driveway with ice on her ankle, the other moms and kids standing around her in a circle. Princess L was still across the street. She suddenly realizes that everyone is back across the street so she comes tearing across the cul-de-sac and yells, "Hey you guys! Don't have any fun without me!"

Second, Princess E was standing on her bathroom stool doing her hair. This is a fairly typical site. Because of her haircut back in December, she needs her hair wet down in the mornings to control the fly-aways. This day she came out of the bathroom with it completely soaked and stuck to her head all over. I asked her what kind of look she was going for. Her answer - "I wanted to look like a homeless person." Whaaaaa?

Finally, our Princesses are often doing their version of the Hoedown Throwdown and the song is heard often at home and in the car. Princess L was doing it the other day to her vocals. Here are the words she sang...

Pop it, Lock it, Polk-a-dot it
Countrify and Hip-Hop it
Put your "honk" in the sky
Move side to side
Jump to the left (said while jumping right)
"Stink" it - slide
Zig-zag cross the floor
"Snuffle" in "dinagonal"
When the drum hits hands on your hips
One, two, three
(Last line completely undiscernible)

Here are the actual words:
Pop it, lock it
Polka dot it
Countrify then
Hip-hop it
Put your hawk in the sky
Move side to side
Jump to the left
Stick it, glide

Zig-zag cross the floor
Shuffle in diagonal
When the drum hits
Hands on your hips
One footed
180 twist

This princess keeps us all in stiches on a daily basis.


How I Used TOG This Year

Thanks to Rhonda for asking this question. Hopefully this will help out anyone who is thinking about TOG, or looking for more information on it. Tapestry of Grace is a curriculum covering a multitude of subjects (the humanities) and written for kindergarten through 12th grade students. TOG has the reputation of being very daunting for those who first look at it. That's because they need to have enough meat for the 12th graders. But the creator, Marcia Sommerville, is always reminding people that we are to take from it what works for each of our students as individuals. If you have a kindergartner and all you are able to fit into your day is the reading assignments done as read-alouds - then that is what you do with that student. But, that child is then better able to understand when you are talking with your 2nd grader, your sixth grader and your 10th grader about what they are learning in school.

I am using TOG Year 1 Redesigned. This is our first year using this curriculum. I have an almost 10 year old DD who is doing UG (upper grammar) work, and an 8 year old DD who is doing LG (lower grammar) work. (I also have a 4 yr old DD and an 18 month old DD who will take over the house if not occupied.) It is my plan to have the UG do part time D (dialectic) work the last half of the year next year to ease her into doing it full time the following year. I wanted to do the same with the LG but have some ADD issues with my LG girl, and as such there are many things we’d like to do that we just cannot get to with either of them. But, here is what we have been doing so far this year.

Geography: We have been simply using the Map Aids disc. I have a book with all the teacher’s maps printed out. They get out their student copy and simply copy down the information. If we had more time, I would probably incorporate some of the maps available at Enchanted Learning for these lower levels as I think it would be more interesting for them. We have done several cookie dough maps as well this year. They really enjoy these.

Vocabulary: We started out the year going through the words and deciding which ones they knew, and which needed to be looked up in the dictionary. This proved too tedious, however, so we instead moved to looking them up online at the Merriam-Webster, and doing a cut and paste. But, they really weren’t learning the words they didn’t know this way. Then I discovered Quizlet. Both the girls and I absolutely love this! I set up my own account that is not accessible to anyone else, as I knew that posting the words online would be a violation of the copy write laws. I was able to upload the words from the Evaluations CD to my dashboard. My girls go into the dashboard, pick the week we are on, and are given the words and definitions to look at. Then there are virtual flashcards that come up to allow them a chance to try to remember the words. Next are two different games they can play with the words. Finally, they take a test on the words. They can print the words out as either flashcards or a word list. We do the latter, and then they cut out the list and tape it into their vocabulary notebooks.

Important People: We have been doing this as copy work. I printed out the list from the Evaluations CD and then have a list, printed for each unit, with the weekly people on it. They look up the person and copy the information into their important people notebooks. I am considering putting these on Quizlet as well, or perhaps alternating with the copy work method, for next year.

SAPs (student activity pages): Some people make neat, bound notebooks out of these. I don't. I simply print out the sheets from the Loom and keep them in a central folder. Each week I pull out their papers and put them in smaller paper folders. We don’t do many of the activities on these for lack of time – ADD issues – but I hope to incorporate more next year. My UG student often is required to do the Bible Questions written out on notebook paper. At the end of the week I take all their loose papers and they get put into a large one for each girl.

Scheduling: TOG is designed to have the child, increasingly by age, do their own schedule. However, neither of my girls is able to do that yet. So I use HST Plus to fill in the assignments that they have on various days. They are allowed to pick what order they do them in. We are currently operating on a five day a week plan, however it is my goal to get them to work ahead on their own so that we have Fridays free. I eventually hope to have them look at their week on the computer (we have DE now) and fill in their schedules themselves, but we have to conquer the ADD monster first.

Writing: We are currently using Writing Aids, which I, as an English major, really like. I am planning to adjust their writing assignments for next year, however, so that they do their writing for the week on last week’s topic. They cannot adequately do their rough draft when they have not thoroughly fleshed out the topic, which sometimes does not happen until Friday. So, I think next year I’ll just keep the writing a week behind to give them more of a chance to reflect and try to find their own answers to the topic throughout the week.

If you are interested in TOG, I would suggest you first try out the three week samples. Follow the widgets on the side to take you there. If those get you more interested (and if money is tight) then I'd suggest you try to buy a used year plan as these may be resold if you decide it just won't work for you. There are many benefits to the DE (digital edition). You will always have the most updated edition. You will always have access to it in case of fire, computer damage, toddlers with permanent markers, etc. You can get a network license so that more than one student can access stuff at once. But, the disadvantage, at least in the eyes of some, is that you cannot resell it. I bought a used print copy. DE came out halfway through the year. I decided to switchover because I'm committed to using this curriculum with four kids all the way through (binding any currently unforeseen issues.) Therefore, the actual cost per student for me is $3.96 per year. (I bought DE at it's low introductory price last January.) You cannot beat that! And should my children decide to homeschool my grandchildren, the cost goes even lower.

Hopefully, if you came here with intrigue to begin with, you want to check this out further. Please click through my widget (so that I can get credit for any purchase you might make,) to bring you to the Tapestry website. Happy Homeschooling!


Contest for a free ticket!

One of my TOG Loose Threads sisters is hosting a contest on her blog to give away a free ticket to the Ultimate Homeschool Expo. This is a great opportunity for someone to take part in. Click on over to check out her blog!


And don't forget to check out all the other awesome stuff she has on there. You're bound to find something that will help out your homeschool.