Tag Archives: History / Social Stuides

We took the boys to see the USS Lexington  nicknamed “The Blue Ghost” this weekend.  Our family spent 4 hours looking around and learning about life on an aircraft carrier and a little bit about WWII.  Here is their official site:  http://usslexington.com/.  As we were leaving a troop of Boy Scouts were arriving for a “stay abroad  where they get to sleep over night on the boat.

big gun 1

big gun 2

big palne

big salute 2

big salute

big window

boys gun 1

boys in the brig

boys plane flight deck

boys together

boys with beach

little flag

little gun 1

mom and little gun 2

mom and little gun

mom boys plane 1

mom boys plane 2


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75 and sunny today

Today it was 75 and sunny here, and we loved it.  Time for a family trip to the beach, and momma slipped in a little school review too.

Today the tide was lower than any time we’ve been there.  We walked out on the the sand that is generally underwater, about 1/4 of a mile of it actually.  it was amazing, the sand is wavy.  We found tons of nice shells, some as big as Little Brother’s hand.  We walked and talked about sand bards and collected shells, and then Little Brother found the mud.  After that we went home for a tub.






The boys wore green today to show their support for a little friend who is very sick.










As we build our  “walled city” we reviewed the reasons for ancient cites to be walled, and the purpose of towers.   It reviewed nicely what we’ve been reading about in history about the original walled cities, and also went nicely with all the knight books Big Brother has been requesting.  DCIM100SPORT


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Sppring Break 2012 #3 — SCHOOL

Yes, school.  Going a full week with no “school” is just not realistic.  Big Brother is really enjoying geography; and we had planned to make a map of our yard so we decided to do this as a group activities with our visiting friends.

We made it a two day project.  The first day we quickly reviewed what a map is, what it is used for, and how we get maps.  I wanted the kids to realize for us to have a map of the road between Grandpa’s and us, someone has to travel it and make the map.  I lead them in collecting data for our map of the yard and house.  We measured the number of steps it took to go from location to location (from one end of the house to the other, from the house to the tree, and so on).  Later the Other Momma and I sat down and made a trial map and decided to divide all our numbers by 2, first of all that made the map fit the page better, and that also allow us to have the kids creat a key noting the scale of the map.  On the second day Other Momma made the actual maps with the kids; taking them step by step though all the data we had collected.

YES, yes I did the entire project as Super Teacher!!


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Showing the boys how great a nation we live in —

We live in an amazing land, a great nation.  We live in a Republic (A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of

state are elected or chosen by elected people …In modern republics such as the United States, the executive is legitimized both by a constitution and by popular suffrage) a  democracy  (exercised indirectly through elected representatives).  We are blessed to live in one of the few places on this earth where the citizenry (meeting a few very basic requirements such as age) have a meaningfully say in the leadership and activities of their government.

Say what you will about money and lobbyists, at the end of the line if you are over 18 and not a felon you and I both go in a private voting booth and the results of that secret ballot are actually respected.  We make a real choice, in state and national elections there will be more than one name on the ballot (smaller local elections might not, but not due to the sitting governments’ long arm).  The winner of the secret ballot you and I submit in fact gets the job; no fuss, no blood and no questions.  The transfer of power, even at the highest levels, is as routine as one teacher packing a box and leaving a classroom and another teacher walking in.  Standard routine, expected; no blood, no fuss, no guns, no fear of reprisal.  Every four years this nation elects a President, new or not; and if that President is not new then that is their last term.  This reality, that we take for granted, is remarkable in comparison with most of the other nations even today in 2011.

As home educators, my husband and I carry a special responsibility to ensure our boys truly understand the remarkable and powerful certainty that is the voting booth; the peaceful transfer of power in this great nation.  We must ensure the boys understand the process; from caucus/primaries in January of one year all the way though to the Inaugural Speech in January of the next year.  The boys need to understand exactly how that man (or woman) standing on that platform that cold January day actually “got there”.

The boys are young; I do not expect them to be quoting the numbers Electoral College votes each state has up for grabs; but I DO expect them to understand there IS an Electoral College and the popular vote does not directly elect the President.

Here in Iowa we are blessed to observe and be part of the process in a very real ‘hands on’ way.  Iowa caucuses  on the county level, in fact on the district level “below” the county.

 The Iowa caucuses operate very differently from the more common primary election used by most other states (see U.S. presidential primary). The caucuses are generally defined as “gatherings of neighbors.” Rather than going to polls and casting ballots, Iowans gather at a set location in each ofIowa’s 1,784 precincts. Typically, these meetings occur in schools, churches, public libraries and even individuals’ houses. The caucuses are held every two years, but the ones that receive national attention are the presidential preference caucuses held every four years. In addition to the voting and the presidential preference choices, caucus-goers begin the process of writing their parties’ platforms by introducing resolution ….. the Iowa caucus does not result directly in national delegates for each candidate. Instead, caucus-goers elect delegates to county conventions, who in turn elect delegates to district and state conventions whereIowa’s national convention delegates are selected. Ironically, the state conventions do not take place until the end of the primary and caucus season: Iowa is in fact one of the very last states to choose its delegates……………Additionally, 17-year-olds can participate, as long as they will be 18 years old by the date of the general election. Observers are allowed to attend, as long as they do not become actively involved in the debate and voting process.

People in Iowa literary sit down with the person next door and have a say in who their distract supports, who their county supports, who their state throws its numbers behind at the National Convention; how much more “by the people” can you get?

Since the Iowa caucus are the first is the nation; January 3 this year, we are lucky enough to get to see and hear all the candidates.  Being so early in the process very few hopefuls will have dropped out before trying the water inIowa.   Furthermore most of the candidates will hit all 99 counties in Iowa because a strong showing inIowais a powerful and much desirable flower for the lucky front running candidate. Iowa is a place to meet the candidates, not just to be “spoken at”. It is a place to eat with them, to hug them, for your children to share secrets with the candidates.

In an effort to lay a solid foundation for our boys regarding the Electoral Process from roots to the remarkable end, we have made an effort to take the boys to meet / see some of the people that are pounding the pavement in hopes of getting the National Republican Bid to run in Nov 2012 vs. Barack Obama.  Our boys having actual impressions of these men and women, real life moms (Michele Bachmann is the mother of 5 biological children and mother to many other foster children) and dads (Rick Santorum is the father of a homeschooling family) – we hope will add a personal touch to the “flow chart” as we learn about the process now and in the years future.  These people are not faces on a TV and names in a book, they are humans (Michele Bachmann is 5 inches shorter than their mom) that the boys will have met.

Dec 28th we took the boys to Winterset Iowa to see Michele Bachmann speak.  Michele was actually born in IA herself.    While she was at the Winterset stop (on her 99 county campaign) she was interviewed for the O’Reilly.  Big Brother, Little Brother and I were asked to stand behind Michele during her interview.  Big Brother actually got to sit right by her at the café counter.  We had a long time, at least 15 minutes, of standing / sitting perfectly still and quiet as we waiting for the show to be ready her.  At one point Michele Bachmann actually turned to Big Brother and talked to him, tickled him a little and the two of them shared a secret.  After the interview Big Brother told Mrs. Bachmann that his daddy had a hurt ankle and the candidate asked to meet him.  Our family got to spend about 5 minutes, sitting in a café booth, talking with Michele Bachmann and have a family photo taken.  As she left, she told Big Brother “Ok I remember our secret” and Big Brother still has not told Daddy and I the secret.

No matter who stands on that stage in Jan 2013 and makes the next Inaugural Speech; and no matter who is elected in 2023 (the first election Big Brother will be able to vote in) – I am sure the boys will both have more personal feeling regarding the entire process.

A few links for you to look at:





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Lent Day 24 (3.15.10)

A couple of great things to report:

1.  Big brother and his Daddy read Across the Big Blue Sea.  Several times and in the back there is a world map and they have been practicing naming the contenits.  Big Brother can identify 6 of the 7 each time and some he gets quickly each time.  He will also tell me “we live in North America where the buffalo live”.   This seems to be sinking in for him.

2.  Little Brother is having an explosion in his “speech” he has willingly signing much more recently.  He is signing PLEASE without prompting about 1/2 the time and with only a verbal prompt (as opposed to mimicking me signing it) a lot of the rest of the time.  He attempted to sign OPEN several times today.  He will try to sign water when prompted and provided an  example to mimic.   More than that he seems to be “babbling in sign”  where he seems to have something to say and moves his arms and hands about looking at them and you (me) like “something should mean something” 🙂  So proud of him.  I love the look of concentration and thought / effort on his face as he tries to make a specific sign (especially more), how he will carefully put down what is in his hands and work for hard.  then the look of JOY that crosses his face when he “gets it”  (even before I react) then how the smile spreads when I “understand him”.  ahhhhh talk about melting the heart of a momma.

This morning Big Brother and I looked up the sign for BROTHER.  That is going to be our new word.  Momma has been lazy we need to keep adding two new signs a week like I was there for a while.  I am trying to get Big Brother to go back  to using his signs a lot more.  Big Brother is really slacking with his ASL as he speaking more.  I don’t feel he should be dropping the signs first as his expressive speech is still not that clear, even to me, and secondly I still want to push ASL as a full second language for this family.  So we need to keep using what we have and adding more.  Also Little Brother is a total copycat of him idol (Big Brother) so he is going to sing more and more correctly if he can watch Big Brother doing it. 

example of Little Brother copying his idol.  This morning Big Brother had on a cape and a stocking cap and arms bans to be a superhero.  Little Brother ran to find all the same things for himself with a great sense of urgency. 🙂 🙂

Big Brother and I practied our ASL alphabet today.  His forms aren’t great, but he attempts to mimic them all and some of them his form is pretty good on.


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Lent 2010 Day 12 (3.1.10)

Today is the 12th day of lent, and I have to say the craving for a sweet drink are not gone.  😦  I guess I didn’t realize how much soda I was drinking.  I have stuck to it, and had nothing but milk and water, but the WANT for a soda is not gone. 

Big Brother has done a lot of “school” stuff recently and I am quite impressed.   A few highlights:

He watched a historical movie on Pearl Harbor with Daddy and actually asked some good questions about what was going on and why.  Now the WHY of WWII is a bit much for a 4 year old, but Hubby did his best and Big Brother explained to me that the bad people (the Nazis) were trying to hurt people and take land that did not belong to them.  Big Brother told me “they had to be stopped”.  This was hours later, so he did pay some attention to the discussion.

Sunday he attended Sunday School after service for the first time.  And Boy oh boy did he WOW his momma.  He walked in and sat right down.  Ok they had goldfish snack out and he is all about goldfish.  He politely refused the very messy cupcake he was offered.  It was him and 4 other kids, 2 girls and 2 boys.  Theo paid attention and actually answered 2 questions “about Last week” even though he was not there last week, and none of the other kids (who were there) did.  LOL  Now I suspect a lot of that “good behavior” was the fact it was his first time and he was unsure of it all, so we will see how next week goes.  🙂  When I took him upstairs to find Daddy and Brother he took Daddy back down and showed him the classroom and told him “this is my new classroom and this is where I sit”.  So he did enjoy it.

Today we painted Easter Eggs.  We will paint some more tomorrow.  then I will cut them out and we will glue them into paper baskets.  we are going to put them on our glass front storm door.  Big Brother loves to mix the paints a bit more than paint, but he seems to be getting more control over the brush.  Little Brother did pretty well untill, he tried to eat the yellow paint brush.  I am not sure why he did that, he did tried to eat the brush a few times in Dec when he first got to paint with Big brother, but had been better about it.  Again, it was yellow — the other 2 times he stuck a paint brush in his mouth it was yellow.  Little brother is so lucky, big Brother did not get to paint at 28 months, that is for sure.  the benefits of being a Little Brother — paint sooner, play dough sooner ….

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