Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Much Needed Help

Help came at just the right time yesterday. To say the least, I've been bogged down trying to get materials at the rate Hunter is learning them: he learns everything faster than I can keep up with!

But just as I was feeling discouraged, I remembered a set of Fandex cards we had downstairs of "Explorers". I thought these would be great as portable bits to use on our trip to NC this summer.

While searching for the fandex cards, I literally screamed with joy when I found a large stack of jumbo size insect flashcards in the science room! These have splendid (large) illustrations of insects on them, several dozen cards in all, and I know Hunter is going to love learning about the world of insecta! I also found a stack of wildflower cards from the same company! What a gift from heaven, as I know that find saved me probably five hours of work!

But that is not all, as I also found a set of "Our 50 States" fandex cards (which I plan on using on our trip) as well as some astronomy flashcards and "edible plants" flashcards! It sure made my day.

I was then inspired to go to the bookstore and see if they had any such similar resources. I was pleased to take home the fandex sets of "Great Classical Composers" and "Birds" for only $10 each (each set has probably 50 cards). I also bought a book called "100 things you should know about gladiators" for just $6. This made my day!

And today I went back for some very nice field guides that were on clearance for $7, including Rocks and Minerals, Herbs, Insects, and Butterflies and Moths. We also got, at Hunter's request, "100 things you should know about elephants". And to top off my day, I found out that teachers (including homeschoolers) can get a 20% discount on everything they buy for their classroom (the store is Barnes and Noble)! I can't wait to go back and get some more fandex cards as well as some awesome books of great masterpieces of art that I saw.

The fandex cards are great in that they have wonderful pictures and a good deal of information. They're not full "Bits of Intelligence" cards with 10 programs of intelligence on the back (ten bits of information, including what they eat, where they live, interesting things about them, and their scientific name [for animals]). But they are a great start and do give a fair deal of good information about each item. And who can beat just $10 for 50 bits! Plus they're portable, great for cars, diaper bags, and trips.

Fandex is a great resource for the busy teacher-parent. On Amazon I found these categories: Human Body, Washington DC, New York City, the Civil War, American Indians, Cats, Dogs, Dinosaurs, Presidents, Shakespeare, Africa, Wildflowers, Mummy Gods and Pharaohs, Mythology, First Ladies, Butterflies of the World, Painters, and Wonders of the World.

" The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."
Psalm 28:7

Hunter is 3 years, 2 months old

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Whole Hunter

I frequently like to put posts on here of Hunter just being a silly little boy.

Yes, Hunter plays chess, knows more about Presidents than he does about Nick Jr., does instant arithmetic, points out constellations, reads many words, talks about "stamen" and "calyx" when observing flowers, runs a mile a day, is learning swimming, gymnastics, and karate, and a host of other interesting things, but all in all, he's still just like any other three-year-old boy.

Right now Hunter loves to finger paint, play with swords, and wrestle with his uncle and cousin. He likes Duplos, basketball, and his toy animal figures. Playdough is a favorite pastime, as is Barney the dinosaur. He asks me to read or tell him a Bible story MANY times a day. He is obsessed with writing "H's" on anything and everything. His favorite place besides school (our basement) is our backyard and, specifically, the swing set. He loves music and his favorite songs are "Jesus loves the little children", "Battle Hymn of the Republic", and Beethoven's 9th Symphony ("D minor!" he always requests).

He's a goofball. He loves to be tickled, play hide-and-seek, and say random and absurd things that he knows will get a laugh.

He's suddenly turned into a full-scale social bug. He says hi to everyone he sees and is extremely kind to other kids. He runs ahead so he can hold the door for people and "thank you" is his favorite word. Then again, he still pouts sometimes and can occasionally found picking his nose in the middle of a conversation. Or running around in his underwear, or whacking his cousin in the head.

Learning about Mozart and Michaelangelo has definitely enriched our lives, but not hindered it. He's still a busy, curious, silly preschooler. And all in all, it has made me a better parent, Hunter a better kid, and the world a better place.

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
1 Corinthians 13:11

Hunter is 3 years, 2 months old


bra·chi·a·tion [brey-kee-ey-shuhn]

–noun Zoology.
locomotion accomplished by swinging by the arms from one hold to another.

Yesterday we finished the first portion of our long-awaited, much anticipated brachiation ladder. After several months of saving the money I am finally able to create this wonderful learning tool for my son. I altered the design so that it can fit over our bed to save space in our 150-square-foot living space.

"Brachiation ladder" is another name for a set of monkey bars. Glenn Doman began using brachiation as a therapy for brain-injured children several decades ago at the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential. Brachiation is a very powerful and extremely beneficial tool for the growing brain and body, as it builds the lungs, strengthens the upper body, and coordinates the brain in such a way as to build the necessary skills for writing, reading, and violin playing. Children on their physical excellence program have ALL been able to write stories, do gymnastics, and play the violin superbly by the ripe old age of three years old, and a large part of that program is brachiating. To say the least, we are very excited about the opportunity to finally make one of these.

Assembling the ladder was very easy even for a wanna-be handyman like me. The next step is building the frame and then we're ready to go! The lumber is fairly inexpensive and I believe the cost is generally less than $150 to make one. And of course, the benefits and fun are priceless!

I am documenting our project with video and pictures so I will have a how-to video and download-able instructions coming soon.

"...and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob"
Genesis 49:24

Hunter is 3 years, 2 months old

Memorial Day

Hunter has been really interested in soldiers and war lately, and, among other things, fighting in general. Which made a perfect entrance to our discussion about Memorial Day.

I haven't been quite so organized yet to be able to plan up to these holidays, getting coordinating books from the library or planning our learning activities around them. Soon though. I'll get there. But nonetheless, words are free. And giving your child your knowledge, well, that's priceless.

"Today is Memorial Day, Hunter. It's a special day where we remember all the men who have been soldiers. Soldiers help keep us safe, sometimes there are bad people in other nations that want to hurt us, but our soldiers protect us and defeat the bad guys. They take guns and missiles and tanks to kill the bad guys that are trying to hurt us. Sometimes when they are fighting the bad guys, they get hurt or die. We're always thankful for the brave men who die for us, because if they didn't fight for us, the bad guys would get us and we wouldn't be safe anymore. So today we thank God and thank our soldiers for fighting for us and keeping us safe."

Not exactly rocket science, but I try the best I can to express patriotism in a way that he can relate to and understand. Whether you agree with a war or not, remember that those soldiers are out there dying for your right to carry those protest signs.

In closing, I thought I would share this fairly unknown second verse of our national anthem. We live in a great country, which is currently very morrally ill right now, and in need of divine assistance, but God has blessed us dearly.

Our National Anthem, verse two:
O thus be ev- er, when free men shall stand Between their loved homes And the war’s desolation! Blest with victory and peace, May the heaven-rescued land Praise the Power that hath made And preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, When our cause it is just; And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!” And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free And the home of the brave?

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13

Hunter is 3 years, 2 months old

Friday, May 23, 2008

Parts of a flower

Nature certainly is God's handiwork. And flowers are an abundantly beautiful part of his creation.

While the beauty of flowers is ready to behold, who isn't amazed by this awesome machine we call a plant? The pollination and fertilization process that is written within these tiny structures is truly amazing.

And what a wonderful thing it is to be able to share this marvel with a child.

You can only look at flower so long before they become somewhat the same, that is if you know neither their names or their functions. You may gaze at their beauty for a great while, but soon it becomes that when you've seen one, you've seen them all. What frustration we all have felt to know the face but not the name!

Hunter is now learning about the parts of a flower. Stigma, style, ovary, ovules, carpel, anthers, filaments, stamens, petal, corolla, sepal, calyx, receptacle, peduncle. He'll easily (and eagerly) learn these in less than a week, playing the card game a few times a day. After he has learned their names, we'll learn their functions. And if you think this is boring stuff, you've forgotten what it's like to be three years old!

As usual, the encyclopedic knowledge program, ever opening doors. He will never quite look at flowers the same way again.

"The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land"

Song of Solomon 2:12

Hunter is 3 years, 2 months old