Sunday, October 28, 2007

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival : Living books

Hello, I'm back. The girls and I went to visit my family last week and I am just getting back to our regularly scheduled life. As I have been catching up on emails, blogs and bookmarks, I noticed that there is a CM blog carnival this Tuesday at Dewey's Treehouse . The topic is open and at first I could think of nothing to blog about. Maybe I am not that Charlotte Masony after all... Then I was reading Thrifty Homeschoolers' posts about CM and it dawned on me - living books - I could post about living books.

Living books are such and obvious concept to me that I almost forget that it is a Charlotte Mason idea. We have been immersed in living books since officially starting our school year on September 10th. Since then we have been devouring picture books about different areas of the world. We have covered Australia, South and Central America and will finish Africa this week. After that we will take a break from our geography studies (sometimes ya need to mix things up, ya know) and spend some time with the chemistry set that has been gather dust for the last year and a half since I bought it at a consignment store. In conjunction with the experiments we will also read, you guessed it... living books. My list of chemistry related books is sitting on my desk right now waiting for me to check our library's online catalog.

It seems like no matter what the subject, living books are available to make the topic come alive. Even if we use a curriculum for a certain subject, I like to find books from the library to add to our learning. Here are a few examples of books we love in the different subject areas.

Math - Math Start readers, Books by Greg Tang
Grammar - books by Ruth Heller, Brain Cleary and Lynn Truss
History - too many to mention taken from Sonlight, The Well Trained Mind and many online lists
Science - We don't even use a curriculum for science. We pick our topics from What your __ Grader Needs to Know and then get books from the library on each topic.
Geography - Geography Song Kit and pictures books. See my lists here.
Music - World's Greatest Composers by Mike Venezia
Art - World's Greatest Artists by Mike Venezia

I truly cannot get enough of living books. If we could just sit on the couch reading books for school, life would be great. So much for the pesky math and writing skills...

I will continue to post the books we are reading as we use living books to learn about different topics throughout the year, so come back and check out my lists. Someone besides me should take advantage of the hours I have spent sorting through books lists and checking the library catalog :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Africa Picture Books Part 1

We're still enjoying our trip around the world via picture books. I found A LOT of picture books about Africa. We're about 2/3 of the way through them and are leaving for a trip to visit my parents for a week, so I thought I would post what we have read so far. I am thinking of taking a break from our "trip around the world" when we finish Africa and spend some time with a chemistry set that has been sitting around for literally years waiting for me to get motivated to use it with the girls. the girls are perfectly happy to spend most of their "school day" cozy on the couch with a bunch of picture books, but I am ready for a chance of pace.

Anyway, here are the picture book about Africa that we have enjoyed, so far.

When Africa Was Home
The Village of Round and Square Houses
Pulling the Lion's Tail
Somewhere in Africa
Boundless Grace
Over the Green Hills
Bringing Rain to the Kapiti Plains
Juma and the Honey Guide
The Hatseller and the Monkeys
Not So Fast Songololo
Faraway Drums
Jamela's Dress
My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me
One Child, One Seed
For You are a Kenyan Child
Masai and I
The Day Gogo went to Vote
A South African Night
Abiyoyo Returns

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Customer Service?

Last week,it seemed like everywhere I went I got bad customer service. It started at Target when I took my middle daughter shopping with her birthday money. I found one item that I wanted and so when I paid, I used the birthday cash for the toys and I put the item I wanted on the credit card. As I turn to go, I look at the receipt and notice that I was double charged for one of the toys. Well, I should have gone to the customer service desk right away, but instead I turn around and say, "You charged me for 2 of these and I only bought one." To fix the problem, the cashier voids my original transaction and rings it up again without the extra item and tells me to put my credit card in the reader. I do it, but mention that I paid part of the order in cash. When the charge comes up it says $81, $70 of which I had paid in cash. I explain the problem, but the cashier instructs me to sign the pen pad. I am getting suspicious, but I do it. Then he says he will void the transaction again, but refuses to give me the voided receipt?? I try to explain that he just charged me for the whole amount and that I had paid cash for part, so he gives me $14 back (the cost of the doubled item) and still won't give me a copy of the voided receipt. At this point, I give up and go to the customer service desk. After about a half an hour, they figure it out and I give them the $14 and they give me back the $70 since my card was charged for the whole total. I tried to be patient, but a half an hour to figure out what the stupid cashier did - ugh! As I am leaving the store after the problem was finally solved, the customer service person runs up to me and gives me two $3 coupons. Woo hoo my time is worth $6!

The next day, I go to pick up my husband's dry cleaning and they send me home with with someone else shirt. And to top it off, Good Times gives me a regular Mountain dew when I specifically asked for Mountain Dew CODE RED! - sheesh!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Wearing of the Green

It is not St. Patrick's Day, but I am wearing green today. My grandfather died last week and today is his memorial service. I can't be there because I already have plane tickets to visit my family next week. My grandfather was very proud of his Irish heritage and so everyone who comes to the memorial service today was asked to wear green. "I can't be there today, Gramps, but I am thinking of you and wearing green."

My grandpa was a good hardworking man. He was married to my grandmother for over 50 years. She died 9 years ago. He lived in the same small town in Ohio most of his life. Everyone in town knew him and loved him. He often worked 2 jobs to support my grandmother and their 2 daughters. He loved to play chess and the bass drum. He desperately wanted to serve his country in WWII, but couldn't because his eyesight was bad in one eye. He felt like he didn't accomplish much in his life, but when he recently typed out the things he had done in his life, it was several pages long. He was afraid to die because he felt he wasn't worthy to go to heaven. He made peace with this shortly before his death. He would always say, God knows the day and hour and minute that each of us will die and there is nothing we can do about it. For him that was Wednesday, September 26th. He suffered and was in pain a lot of the last few years. My aunt and mother became his full time care givers. Although it is sad that he is gone, it is comforting to believe that he is out of pain and in a better place. I truly believe that I will see him again.

"I will miss you, Gramps, and look forward to seeing you on the other side. You were so hard on yourself, but I know that you were a good man who accomplish a lot in your 85 years here on earth."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

South of the Border

We are having a lot of fun reading books about different places around the world. This week we have spent much time snuggled on the couch reading picture books about Mexico. Here is a list of these books. So far all the books we have read have been really good. I have about 30 books about Africa waiting for us to get to next week.

Day of the Dead by Winter
A Christmas Surprise for Chabelita
Josephina by Winter
Today is the Day
In Rosa's Mexico
Look What Came From Mexico
Erandi's Braids
Calavera Abecedario
Going Home
The Hummingbird's Gift

These 2 are about the Mayans who lived in Mexico and Central America
The Bravest Flute
Rain Player