Monthly Archives: January 2012

Painting, walls that is

Our basement is unfinished, and the stairs down to it are officially “where the unfinished starts”.  The walls were primed when we built, but we had never gotten around to painting them.  The walls were very dingy and dirty.

The boys and I painted them!  Since the area is officially unfinished area of the house, the boys got to help.

They actually did a much better job than I anticipated and did not get silly or intentionally extra messy.  Nevertheless, intentional or not, boys and paint equal a mess.


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Sunday afternoon game turns in to Math Lesson

Sunday was wet and rainy; not all cold but not weather to get out in.  Once home from church and errands the boys and i settled in to an afternoon of play dough.  Pretty soon we were into a math lesson about fractions.

The boys, with a little guidance, discovered if you break a 1/2 in 1/2 you get a 1/4 and that a 1/4 is smaller than 1/3 and many other simple facts of fractions better observed than explained.  the boys practiced dividing masses in half or thirds or ever fourths. Yes, if you wonder, we still made dragons and seahorses.  


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Too late for New Year’s too early for Lent

I can not expect my children to learn “from me” anything that I do not live or practice.  Simple.  Fact.  My boys are not going to miraculously exhibit traits (good or bad) that they do not learn some place.  They are our boys; they are with me all but maybe 10 hours a week, we home educated.  Our boys are going to grow up fundamentally like us.

Oh my is THAT a scary thought or what?  God is the potter, they are the clay, but I am a tool He chooses to use at this moment.  I can start them toward a beautiful form, or I can allow them to lop over or become hard and difficult to work with.

I want my boys to grow up in The Word and to practice good inner disciple and personally accountability.  I want them to gentlemen, and strong men, foot soldiers for Christ; amazing fathers and good husbands.  Thus the must see me, reading The Word, discussing the Word and applying The Word to our daily life.  They need to SEE me walk the walk, all the time, no exceptions; talking the talk won’t work.  Kids can spot a counterfeit a mile away and resent having expected of them what the parent is unwilling to commit to.  If I model God as only for morning devotional and Sundays, that is how my boys will live the rest of their lives, and raise their children too.

To this end I have decided to choose “self behavior” passages from the Bible (not that the entire Book is not a “behavior manual”, it is) and apply them to myself much more strictly.  My theme of the week, if you will, for changing my behavior and pulling myself closer to God; to a deeper level of devotion.

I considered Galatians 2:6 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – but, really I think (in my opinion) I already model this fairly well for the boys.  When Little was a little less than a year I had the honor of pumping and donating breast milk to the little boy of a dear mom being treated for breast cancer; big still talks about “Baby D’s momma being sick and how she is better now but still sick and we still pray for her, but Baby D is big and doesn’t need momma milk any more”.  Right now we are remembering nightly in our prays the son of another friend; the boys is only 6 week old and has been in NICU over a month of his short life.  Big Brother tells everyone about baby T – at Awanas, at Church.  I think they have a fairly good; vision of  bearing another’s burdens.  Maybe not, only time will tell, but I decided to move on past that verse for now.

So I am going to choose a book a week to read, and reread; and a verse from that Book to by verse of the week.  The verse will highlight a personal behavior I want to achieve a higher level of personally accountability in.  I am not sure that I am going to discuss this with the boys I think this may just be for me for a time.

Week of Jan 23 – Book of the Week Ephesians –

Here is my “star passage”:

 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

and my verse for the week:

26 “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.


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Boys in the Snow 1.18.12

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Dogs and Snow

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Picture 1.15.2012

Just as couple of photos …

Big Brother is 43 pounds and 47.5 inches tall

Little Brother is 38.5 pounds and 42.5 inches tall


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Thinking about Literature for First Grade and the first draft of First Grade Reading List

I want Literature to be an additional subject beyond phonics / reading because I feel it is important they boys hear good literature that is well beyond their reading.  Also that they, in time, are able to “tell it back” or at least some of it; to follow more and more complicated plots and think more complex thought about the reading.  While I want them to hear some that is barely beyond Big’s reading level, to keep them reaching, most I plan to read several years beyond.  The oft lorded ‘classics’.  Hearing good writing will help them write well.  Hear grand thoughts will help them think magnificent thoughts.  Hearing tales of obstacles over come and challenges met will impression on them that challenges and obstacles need not stop you.  Moral stories and stories of moral struggle build them up without them feeling lectured.  Stories of God’s heroes, Biblical and historical, will plant the seeds of trees of deep and strong faith.  Great literature, famous stories, people and places (real or fictional) are the language of a culture.  To be literate, to be able to converse there are certain things the boys need to know (we all know who had a coat of many colors and why to beware of Greeks bearing gifts), and they’ll learn these gems cuddled next to me on the sofa reading well loved books, good books, books that have stood the test of time.

Of course there is no way we could possible read all the good books ‘out there’ any year or on any given topic.  I desire to wet their appetites, to present them a buffet, to show them the stack and stack and stacks of books they can spend the rest of their live nibbling away at.  I’ll choose some and we’ll see how far we get.  Rabbit trails may lead us off in to lands unplanned.  As the years go by we’ll not totally move past this list since we do have Little Brother coming up 23 month behind Big. I plan to keep the boys on “the same era” in history (Ancient, Medieval, ____) and I plan to work on US History and civics every year.  Nevertheless as Little Brother ages and is himself in First Grade we’ll have a chance to reach, again, into these lists and pull out something different.  Many of these good are timeless, as good for a 7th grader to read (or hear) as a 1st grader, and so many I am excited to read, or reread as an adult.  There is a natural progression in reading, and being read to, that is certainly not limited by dates on a calendar (be it school year, or birthday).  You’ll note many of the books that show up on a search of ‘first grade reading list’ that many of the books also appear of either a ‘pre-school’ search or a second grade search (or both). Reading, literature (especially read-a-loud books) are very fluid things.

I love searching and reading ‘reading lists’.  There are so many great books that I have never heard of, find, read and then wonder how I lived without it.  Looking back at Children’s Literate from 50 years ago, 100 years, or even more; opens a door to an amazing wonderland I have never visited before, and I am excited to drag my children though.  I am constantly assured by the titles that repeat from list to list, and excited to find new ones.  It never ceases to amaze me how you can ask 20 different people for the 50 best read-a-louds and get 20 different lists; but that means there is always something for each parent to find to fit well with their own child unique needs and personality and interests.

This is a compilation of several reading listing I have gone over; and a few tossed in that I have seen following rabbit trails around  This represents maybe not the best reading for the first grade year but the books I feel my boys will most enjoy and be most engaged in.

We will be doing Ancient History via Story of the Would Vol #1  for History for the year and that we’ll also give us many read-a-louds (it is a spine and actively guide with a good deal of suggested additional reading to flesh it out).  We’ll also be doing American History via maybe Truthquest History Guide: American History for Young Students Volume 1 as our Social Studies core.  I have chosen each of these spines (Trustqest is set up much like SOTW) because each has a 3 or 4 year cycle of different time periods laid out.  I am following the same over all “theme” I have in history and in Literature; that is focusing on people and personal lives more than events and dates.  Included in my reading list below, are many ‘additional reading’ for Story of the World also; most I have found recommended by other homeschool moms.

This list is still under construction, when I finish it I’ll post it like I did my Master List of Kindergarten Reading.  I make no claims that we’ll read all of them in the first grade year; though some of them we already have and / or have read; or will have read before First Grade is officially underway.  In fact I know we will NOT read them all; but that, after all, the point of a reading list to choose from as the topic suits and to leave them wanting more.

I’ll also be pulling titles from my many “books of books”.  This will help me most find books to supplement our topics and to provide us new and different readings for the different seasons and holidays.

Ones I have chosen, so far from the lists below.  List subject to change, and change and change.  Note they are not all chapter books, merely books I want to share with the boys and that are beyond their reading level.   Also note I have some more research to do, and will be updating this post; I have not been though all I want to go though yet.

—-Work in Progress —-

Some of the rest of the list(s) complied: in alphabetical order with duplicates removed (for my efforts to compile a list for Pre-K and Kindy see here; many of the books are repeats actually, not my doing, all the reading listing I am drawing from):

The reading lists I drew from:

An Old Fashion Educations (an amazing resource)

Amberside first grade reading list in 36 weeks segments

Tanglewood First Grade reading list by subject

100 Great Books

beautiful feet

SonLighht and


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