fiar: the glorious flight

Aug 28, 2012 by

fiar: the glorious flight

We are having a wonderful school week so far. I think my kids are so ready for some order in their lives (and more importantly, for me to be fully present with them) that they are eating up our learning time. We started our Five In A Row read-aloud yesterday and thought The Glorious Flight has been on my shelf for years this is the first time I have read the famous story of Louis Bleirot who flew across the English Channel in 1909.

I am in love with this book.

1. It is so French. The sentence structure screams France (and while I don’t love France, I love books that exude a culture so thoroughly you can feel it).

2. Louis had gumption and determination and courage. My children need to be surrounded by examples of people doing hard things and not giving up the first, second, or gazillionth time.

3. Louis’ dream to fly became a family project.

Yesterday we read it and loved seeing Louis succeed at the cliffs of Dover. Today we read it again and found the English Channel on the map and talked about how Louis and his family could have given up when his first plane couldn’t fly at all or his fourth that moved around in circles on the pond or his sixth that got snagged on a rock. He could have given up after he finally got a plane in the air, but after just a few minutes would come crashing down, often injuring him.

But he didn’t. He persevered. He stayed true to his dream. He kept working and thinking and experimenting and DARING to do something no one had ever done.

Courage…we all need more of it.

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book bonanza: lots of audios

Jun 26, 2012 by

book bonanza: lots of audios

We are spending a lot of time cleaning these days. Having a mama be out of commission for months on end has done a number on this already cluttered house. My children have tried hard to fill in the gaps for me, but quite frankly, what this house needs is ME! So, the last several days we have cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. We have rearranged the school room in our seemingly never-ending quest to find the most functional arrangement, we have started on the sewing room, are getting ready to tackle the storage room (do I have the courage?), and then the garage. Oh my, SO MUCH WORK! Yes, you should read those all-caps as screaming because that is just what I am feeling.

Anyway, during all this cleaning we have been listening to some great books and thought you might enjoy them if you are doing any big projects or taking some summer drives.

This morning we listened to Only Passing Through which is the story of Sojourner Truth. What a woman! I hope my children learned (once again) that God calls us to a mission and it is our privilege to step up to the plate with faith and do what He asks us to do. This story also comes in a picture book version if you would rather read it aloud.

Saturday we listened to Amos Fortune, Free Man. We must be in bit of a freedom mood, eh? Must be the time of the year to think about liberty and working for it for all of God’s children as was stated so strongly in The Declaration of Independence that was being drafted right about now 236 years ago. We loved the strength spirit Amos demonstrates again and again and his determination to make the best of his situation.

Now we are listening to The Land of Oz. I read the whole series to Blythe years ago, but haven’t revisited it since. Fisher decided he was interested in it and Blythe wanted to hear it again, so now we are immersed in Mr. Baum’s classic series of conquering our fears, serving others, and believing in goodness.

I can’t wait to listen to The Time Pirate which is the sequel to Nick of Time which was a huge hit with all of us a few years ago.

You can probably find these at your local library, but if not, they are all available on Amazon. What are your favorite audio books?

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new read-a-loud

Mar 31, 2012 by

A couple of weeks ago someone on an email list recommended The Wonder Book For Girls and Boys by Nathaniel Hawthorne as a great read-a-loud for a wide range of children and that boys will especially love it. Since I have a wide range of children and a boy I was looking for a new read-a-loud for since his Spies book was putting me to sleep, I thought, hmmm, I will check it out. I quickly found it for free as a Kindle download and sent it my way in seconds. Then I started reading it to Fisher. Then, I said, “Fisher, go grab Keziah, I think she will love this.” So he did. And we read. And we loved it.

Now Fisher, Keziah, and Annes hang out on my bed drawing and working on handwriting while I read to them the adventures of Perseus, Midas, and Pandora’s Box. It is exciting enough to distract me from the pain in my hip and it is written in a way that appeals to each of them. We have never spent much time on Greek Myths, although Blythe had a phase where she was slightly obsessed with them and I own and LOVE the D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths.

So, if you are in a reading rut, check out Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Wonder book and see if you fall in love as we did.

p.s. To all of you who are wondering, yes, I hobbled downstairs and typed this on my big computer. Perhaps a mistake, but I had a ton of emails to get out for gymnastics and the 3rd Annual Homeschool Read-A-Thon and it seemed a much better use of my fingers and brain to do it here. I’m hoping I won’t pay for it in the hip department.

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fiar: hot air

Feb 14, 2012 by

fiar: hot air

This week we are reading Hot Air by Marjorie Priceman. It tells the mostly true story of the first hot air balloon ride in Versailles, France in 1783. A chicken, sheep, and duck were sent up in the air and stayed up for eight minutes traveling about two miles. This particular book gives the background events and then makes up what could have happened to the three animals as they flew across the city. Fisher thinks it is hilarious and we think you will as well.

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to destroy you is no loss

Dec 6, 2011 by

to destroy you is no loss

Do you know over 3 million people died because of the actions of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979?

Do you know nearly 2 million of those were murdered in cold blood?

Do you know many, many more lives were cut short or irrevocably changed?

Do you know the Khmer Rouge’s mantra that played daily on the radio was “To keep you is no benefit, to destroy you is no loss.” and that people were told they were less significant than a grain of rice?

Do you know people were clubbed on the head with hoes and then pushed into rivers, ponds, and reservoirs?

Do you know that people who had any education at all were killed while those who could not read or write and often did not think for themselves were promoted to leadership?

This is one reason why I am a defender of liberty, an advocate of liberal arts education, and most importantly, a mother who spends her days teaching her children.

My Worldviews students and I are discussing this book this week and it has touched them deeply. My hope is that they take with them a commitment to freedom and an understanding of the methods of a communist regime. If you have not read Joan Criddle’s book, To Destroy You Is No Loss, read it…it will change your life.

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stories of the pilgrims

Nov 21, 2011 by

stories of the pilgrims

We love Jim Hodges’ audio recordings and listen to them often. One of our annual traditions is listening to Stories of the Pilgrims at Thanksgiving time. The first time I listened, I learned so much about these stalwart people who were determined to worship their God in freedom and to raise their children according to their beliefs. They give me courage to live my beliefs more fully, to pray more fervently, and to love more purely. You can order his MP3 disks or get an audio download here.

Here is the description from his site:

Beginning with Queen Anne’s visit to Scrooby Inn, Stories of the Pilgrims tells, in story form, the everyday life of the Pilgrims in England and Holland, of their voyage on the Mayflower, and their adventures in the New World. The Brewster children and other Pilgrim boys and girls are the center of interest. This is a wonderful recording for a family to listen to together in the weeks before Thanksgiving.

I think we will start listening to ours today during art time.

If you would rather read it yourself, you can find it online for free or you can buy the book from Yesterday’s Classics.

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genevieve foster

Nov 16, 2011 by

genevieve foster

This woman’s work is amazing.

Really.

If you don’t already own her books, you need to know you are missing out.

Her maps are oh, so lovely. Her stories are lively. Her illustrations are the perfect blend of whimsy and simplicity. We have been reading The World of Columbus and Sons and have already learned so much. Did you know Spain wasn’t even a country when Isabella was born? Did you know she had a corrupt older brother? Did you know she had integrity at a very young age and would not accept the queen-ship when her corrupt older brother was still king, even when the Archbishop begged her to. Did you know Columbus was named for St. Christopher who was given the job of carrying people across the sea?

I can’t find many of her illustrations online and my camera batteries are dead, but here is a taste of what is inside:

One of her maps…oh, I wish I could draw like this!

Through Herculean efforts we are going to try to read three of her books this year, The World of Columbus and Sons, The World of Captain John Smith, and George Washington’s World. Keziah is doing The Beautiful Feet Early American History program and somehow it covers The Vikings to the Civil War…a very long time period, so we are going to try to cover the same eras in Foster’s books. But each book is about 400 pages, so we will just try our best and see how far we get.

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fiar: how to make an apple pie

Oct 24, 2011 by

fiar: how to make an apple pie

Our FIAR book of the week is How To Make An Apple Pie and See The World by Marjorie Priceman. Fisher and I are in love.

Jacket

The market is closed so the girl must travel the world to find her apple pie making ingredients. She traveled to Italy to find wheat for the flour, France for elegant chickens to lay the best eggs, Sri Lanka to find kurundu bark for the cinnamon, England for a cow with the creamiest milk, Jamaica for sugar cane, and Vermont for apples. What a trip!

Then we finished off the day by eating a real apple pie and carving pumpkins (no, I didn’t make it today…I made it a long time ago and froze it and Keziah thought it would be a fabulous idea to bake it for our Family Home Evening treat.)

Fisher giggled all the way through it, told papa all about it when he got home, and he can’t wait to read it again tomorrow. This one is a keeper!

p.s. I am on a posting spree…I don’t know what is up with that! Pictures of the pumpkin carving will be up soon.

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fiar: who owns the sun?

Sep 20, 2011 by

fiar: who owns the sun?

Who Owns The Sun?

Before I started Five In a Row with Fisher, I had never heard of this book. We put it on hold at the library and waited for our name to come up on the list. We were finally able to check it out and we read it yesterday snuggled up on my bed.

Oh. My. Heavens.

I MUST own this book.

I am so in love with it.

The problem? It is going for around 100 buckaroos because of the whole scarcity-grows-demand-grows-prices issue.

If I wasn’t an honest person I would just keep the one from the library and pay the fee…but who knows, maybe even their replacement fee would be in the three digit range? I am just going to have start telling everyone I know to keep their eyes peeled for it at used book stores!

This book was written and illustrated by a fourteen year old girl named Stacey Chbosky. The art work is so lovely. In fact, all of us are going to try to paint a sun like hers this afternoon because Fisher and I are so completely in love with her sun. I guess there is a yearly contest for students to write and illustrate their own books and then if they win their book is published. This book won the contest back in 1988. All of my children want to learn more about the contest and enter their books this year.

This beautiful story is a conversation between a boy and his daddy. The boy asks questions about who owns the sun, the stars, the birds, the wind, and the flowers. The dad gives answers that speak right to my soul, teaching his son that no one can own those things, they are too big and powerful for anyone to own them. They are for everyone to be blessed by. Then, the boy overhears a Mr. Finley saying he owns Big Jim, who is the boy’s father. The boy is angry and hurt and scared at the thought of anyone OWNING a human being when no one can even own a flower or the wind. His daddy teaches him about slavery in such a poignant way I could barely make it through the reading of it.

He says “A man is a beautiful thing, a very beautiful thing. But some men forget this. And sometimes they try to keep other men captive. They buy and sell people, as if human beings are no more than cattle. But only a fool believes he can really own another man, and only a fool will try. Mr. Finley may own my body, but I have a heart and I have a mind, and he can never own these. Inside of me, I’m too powerful to be owned by anyone. Inside, I am like the sun.”

Our family is pretty passionate about freedom for all of God’s children. We talk about different customs, cultures, and government forms often. We discuss which forms create the most freedom and which create the least. We have studied the lives of great men and women who have given everything they have to help others have freedom. This year, Keziah and I are studying American history from the Vikings to the Civil War and I can’t wait to recreate an Underground Railroad experience for her and her friends. I read several books about William Wilberforce during my pregnancy with Annesley and desperately wanted to name the child inside me after him (but she turned out to be a girl and so we named her after Susannah Annesley Wesley instead).

So, when I read this book yesterday, thinking it was just a lovely book about nature and how the world works, my heart soared when I realized it was really about slavery and freedom and the greatness of the human soul. What a great story!

Let’s all write to the publisher and beg them to re-issue it! In the meantime, I will buy it from anyone who finds it at a thrift store and throw in a foot massage as well!

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