Pillars of Pine

Pillars of Pine

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gotta Love School Days Sometimes!

Sometimes, life does tend to 'take over'. Due to my Dad being in hospital, keeping family up to date, organising appointments, etc., school work took a back seat today.

Fortunately, my children are quite independent - and completed their morning school work without too much fuss - Maths, Spelling, English and such. I then appeared on the scene to read a story and dictate some spelling words. After that, we used 'Child-size Masterpieces' to look at some famous paintings, and had some fun with 'Music for Little Mozarts - Discovery CD'.

Then, I left them to their own devices. As it was the last day of the month, and therefore the last day of our Internet useage (which begins again on the 1st of each month), I allowed them some Internet time. They used it wisely, and of course, for educational purposes - busily 'translating' songs and poems into Japanese, and then back again - making for an afternoon of riotous laughter, with hillarious results. If you've never tried it, please do - I cannot begin to tell you how entertaining it is!

As far as my Dad goes, he has had an operation on his leg this afternoon. It was the top of his thigh bone, which has been pinned. This will mean a hospital stay for several days, and therefore, he will be unable to have his eyes operated on at this time. It is devastating, but, that's the way of it at times. I will telephone his doctor in the morning, to see what can been done about a re-booking.

And, that's our day. Time to send these crazy kids off to bed!


Monday, May 30, 2011

Blessed are They.

Blessed are the cracked,
for they let in the light.

Prayers for my Dad

I would like to ask for prayers for my Dad, Ernie Masters.

I was about to email and ask for prayers, as this was to be ‘the week’. My Dad, who will be 90 on Friday, was booked in for an eye operation. He has been blind for nearly 6 months, however, after several specialist appointments, they decided that they could possibly rectify that, and booked him in to an Adelaide hospital for this Thursday, for an operation which would hopefully restore a little sight in one eye – enough for him to be able to move around, recognise faces, etc.

However, this morning my Dad took a fall, and it seems he has fractured his left hip. He is in great pain, and obviously, terribly disappointed, as it seems his eye operation will need to be cancelled or postponed. At present, he is in the middle of x-rays, etc., after which they will decide whether or not he needs to be transferred to Adelaide via the Royal Flying Doctor for an operation. Last time, it took many weeks for him to be able to walk again – healing is such a long process for these things.

So, please pray for him – for physical healing, for his hip, for his eyes, and for the strength he needs to get through.



Sunday, May 29, 2011

Homeward Bound!

Our Daniel is home again! He has spent the past 19 days aboard the 'One and All' Sailing Ship, and it is good to have him home.

Daniel is part of the volunteer crew, and with many voyages conducted on weekdays, he is often called upon to give of his time. Just another beauty of homeschooling - flexibility! This time, it was actually four, separate voyages, but as they were all close together, he simply stayed onboard for the whole time.

And, he tells me he may be called on for most of June as well! I swing, you know, between, 'Noooo! What about School Work???', to 'Yes! Go for it! Take the opportunities that you are given and run with them!'. I think the 'take your opportunities' attitude is winning out. And, why not? Especially as he would love to gain paid employment on the ship in the future.

But for now, he is home again, and we are enjoying his company, AND his cooking!


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Things I've Learned This Week.

1. That sometimes, it is best to leave certain things unsaid, even when it is difficult to do so.

2. That people will believe what they want to believe, despite the evidence.

3. That tackling a problem with kindness, respect, and love is truly the best approach.

4. That patience really is a virtue to strive for, and

5. That love can conquer all.

Umm..... yes, it has been quite a 'dramatic' week!


Friday, May 27, 2011

History: An Alternative Approach

This year, we've taken a slightly different approach to history. Instead of reading from only ancient junior portfolioone source text, we have been using ‘History Portfolios', and reading a variety of different sources. And, we've been making models. Using our own creations as well as using some ‘Usborne Cut-Out Models', our history sessions have taken on a rather ‘visual' appearance, which have made the lessons more interesting, and given them greater variance.

sotw1One of our favourite resources for History remains ‘Story of the World'. However, we struggled a little last year, with my younger ones becoming a little bored with the same approach, week after week. So, this year we returned to the use of ‘History Portfolios'. Even though my youngest girls are now 8, 10 and 12, we chose to use the ‘Junior' versions, as they looked like they would be fun. As it turned out, they were fun - we probably should have included some more narrations, but we wanted to make our history lessons a little less pressured, and somewhat more relaxed. History Portfolios included a recommended ready list, as well as chapters form Story of the World, so all in all, it suited us perfectly.

sample page 011 sample page 111

In addition to the portfolios, we included the use of ‘Usborne Cut-Out Models'. I had this grand idea that it would be fun for us all to complete the models together, but I have to admit, it did not quite work out this way. The Usborne models, while they are wonderful, are not really suited for young children, and so the lessons developed into Mum doing most of the work, while the children coloured, or watched, or headed off to do other things. But, it was good nevertheless. The children watched the models progress, and we were able to chat about the replicas and the eras as they were assembled. Before long, we had quite a collection on display.

Ancient Egypt11To begin with, we made our own. Starting with Egyptian History, we created a pyramid, made a double-crown, and completed a ‘punch-out' book of mummy cases. All the time, we were also working through the history portfolio book, lining up the model-making with each area of study. Then, moving onto Greece, we read the story of the Trojan War, and built the Usborne Trojan Horse. That was most enjoyable! We told wonderful stories about the horse, and what ‘might' have happened if things had taken a different path. Finally it was time to study Rome. The model we selected for Rome was an Amphitheatre, which led to many discussions on Roman Architecture, as well as the Colosseum and the early Christian martyrs.

Pyramid11 trojan horse11

ampitheatre 211 ampitheatre 311

While our curriculum has been a little lacking in written work, we have read, studied pictures, and watched the ‘building' of several famous structures throughout history. This has led to quite an interest in Ancient Times, and the children seem quite open and interested in learning more. They seem to be noticing more when they see images on televisions or in the movies (Hannibal in ‘Night at the Museum' was quite a treat!), and history has certainly been less of chore than usual. Next week, we are moving onto the Middle Ages, and there will be more models to build. However, I will step up the narrations, as we'll be using the ‘Classic History Portfolios' this time. Despite the extra requirement in written work, I hope we'll be able to keep the enthusiasm alive. We shall build a castle, make shields and swords, and no doubt several ‘kings and queens' costumes to use in make-believe games. It should be fun!



Welcome to Pillars of Pine!

While I do have a blog attached to my web-site, I find separate blogs can make for a more 'personal' page.

And so, I have returned to creating 'Pillars of Pine', my own personal blog.

Some posts will show up on both blogs, others will only be on one or the other.

We'll see what happens!