Friday, July 30, 2010

It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over. . . . .

and it ain't over yet!

Yes, folks, the Year of the Camps is in full swing around these parts.  This week was a double-whammy:  Colonial History and Film-making.

 Emily did a terrific job with the Colonial History camp - her first ever!  Here she is in her dress - she and Hannah helped me make their period dresses.

She planned activities using "Colonial History Pockets", and really had a nice mix of crafts, learning, snacks, watching some videos, and of course - playing games!

Even more special - one of the young ladies attending celebrated her actual birthday with us - Colonial Style! 

One of the moms made an interesting comment - her daughter just enjoyed playing games.   Marbles, hoop rolling, dancing, catch a ball in the cone, no-electronics-needed games.  It was such a joy to watch them being - girls.

Happy, joyful, girls.

Our afternoons were consumed by - well - electronics definitely needed Filmmaking Camp!

13 students planned, wrote, acted in, and produced two short films - "Blamed" and "Time Machine".  It was a huge undertaking, and despite the minor technical difficulties and  a few logistical issues, a good time was had by all.  Kathryn & Nathaniel were a good team - and now have to spend the weekend burning DVDs and mailing them out to the campers!

We learned a few important lessons this week:

Lesson #1 - It is NOT a good idea to plan a double-camp session beginning the day after you return from vacation.

Lesson #2 - Mom is never again allowed to get sick during camp week.

And now - onwards and upwards - to Ballet Camp #2!

(ETA:  OK, I have GOT to do something about the format of my blog!  I really thought the words would line up with the pictures better . . . .bleh.  Sorry about that!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Feeling the Comment Love

So, now I know how to get real people to comment, instead of just random Chinese character-spammers.

Just get sick!  A ploy for pity or comments, you'll never know. . . . .. .


(Actually, I woke up feeling much better today. . . .it was either the NyQuil or all your comments.  Thanks!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Necessary, or Nice?

It's D-day.

I always do this to myself.

Somehow, some way, I'm always the proverbial "Chicken-with-her-head-cut-off" the day before we leave on a vacation.  And no, I've never actually seen said "Chicken", but if Yurii has his way, I will some day.


I find myself with too much to do, and not enough time to do it.  So last night, I made another of my famous "lists".  This time, it had two columns:  "Necessary" and "Nice".  The necessary being, obviously, the things that MUST be done before vacation.  (aka before 6 a.m. tomorrow)  "Nice" are the things that I'd like to get done, but probably won't. 

Unfortunately, the "Necessary" list is full to overflowing.  The "Nice" list has things on it that I really really WANT to do, but just won't be able to fit in.  I'm looking longingly at my school filing supplies. . . . . sigh. . . . . . .

Oh, well.

Blogging is definitely on my "Nice" list.  Or maybe I should call it the "Naughty" list :-D.

Off to the races!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Law of Unintended - Wonderful - Consequences

Today is the last day of Ballet Camp.


(And I still can't figure out why I'm tired, when my daughter is doing all the work? Hmm.)

This morning, I got to thinking about the wonderful things that have happened as a result of our eldest's commitment to running her own business. 

The biggest one by far?  Unity in our family.

It has been amazing - and wonderful - to see how all the siblings have pitched in to help their sister in her time of need.  Nathaniel is the cameraman, general mover-of-large-objects, and setter-up-of-all-things-sprinkler-like for Splash Day.  Emily encourages the little girls, and while she's just a bit too young to teach, she's the snack mistress and craft coordinator.  Hannah is actually in ballet camp (her last year!  sniff. . . . ) and has been a wonderful example to all the younger girls, an encourager, and has helped with costumes.

Amy just dances.  Well, kinda.  She's along for the ride.  Her time's a-comin', I'm sure!!

(Me?  What do I do?  Take care of the dog.  And stay out of the way.  Mostly on my laptop, planning school.  But that's another blog post.)

That has been something I never could have seen coming, and I'm so thankful the Lord has given our kids a way to work together, serve Him, and serve each other.

Unintended, but wonderful.  And a blessing to this mama's heart.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Camping - No Tents Required!

Most of you know how I feel about camping. 

The fact that we owned a 3-person tent for - oh - 15 years and never used it.  Once.  Should give you a Mighty Big Clue.

This kind of camping, however, I can enjoy. . . . .
Last week, I ran our first ever Science Camp!  Had 11 students (mostly boys!), and we learned about electricity, magnets, and dissected lots of gross nasty things!  (Cow eyeballs, anyone?)  It was actually a ton of fun - for me and my students - as I really enjoy seeing kids actively learning. 

We kind of stumbled into this, honestly - out of necessity.  Officially, we're known as Spring Garden Arts.  Unofficially, we're known as "The Family that is Trying Everything to Earn Some Money."  (Only kidding.  Kind of.)  But you know what?  It's really - actually - gratifying.  We're all working together, using the strengths and talents that God has given us, and praying that we will bless others as we go.

Not a bad way to spend a summer.

So - tomorrow starts Ballet Camp - Kathryn has run about 5 or 6 of these before, so they're actually old hat for her.  Once we get back from vacation, we have Colonial History Camp (run by Emily, assisted by me) and Filmmaking Camp (run by Kathryn & Nathaniel, who else!).  Kathryn ends the summer the first week of August with Session 2 of Ballet Camp.

Check out our website!  And actually - by way of commercial - Colonial History Camp isn't full yet, so if you have any history-minded young girls, send them our way :)  

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Celebrating the Fourth of July - Homeschool Style!

Ever wonder how history-geeks homeschoolers celebrate the Fourth of July?  Read on. . . . .

 Step One:  Plan a Major Life Event to happen sometime in March.  Said MLE will consume approximately 1 month of your schooling.  Everyone keeps up with math and reading, but fall short on our beloved history curriculum Tapestry of Grace.

Problem?  Not on your life.  Homeschoolers are nothing if not flexible.   The school year officially comes to a close on July 2 (yes, you read that right).  Happily, our last unit involves the founding of our country!  Perfect!  Move on to step two. . . . . . . .

Step Two:  Convince your kids that making a game about the Constitutional Convention is fun!  Thankfully, I have two allies in that battle. . . . . namely, that they have inherited the uber-history geek gene from both parents, and. . . well. . . . .they're homeschooled.  They think history actually is fun.  You know, debating the relative merits of the Connecticut Compromise and the Articles of Confederation, and all that.

Second ally:  Tapestry of Grace.  (Have I mentioned how much I love it?)  I pull out directions for making the game, complete with trivia cards, and my two middle-schoolers have at it.  They're even working on this on weekends, as a matter of fact!

Step Three:  Celebrate!  Yurii & I played in concert Sunday night, and I was flat-out getting ready for science camp, so we postponed our celebration until the 5th (Hey, if the feds can do it, so can we, right?)  We started with dinner, then moved quickly on to the Constitution Game:

Here are the proud game creators:

We had a ball!  Emily basically rated each delegate to the convention on whether or not they had a good nose.  It. was. hysterical.  The kids stumped us at many a turn. . . . really, did YOU know that John Hancock and Sam Adams weren't delegates from Massachusetts???. . . . . . and, honestly, I won, but seeing as how I was their teacher, I think I had an unfair advantage. 

We ended the evening watching an EXCELLENT movie on the Father of the Constitution, James Madison.  Filmed on location in Philadelphia, the characterizations of the men, the passions, the conflict that surrounded the writing of the Constitution are just incredible.

You think our Congress is contentious and partisan?  Hah - wait 'til you see the Federalists duke it out with the Anti-Feds!!!  Fascinating.  (Note to my local folks:  we're willing to loan this one out!  Just ask.)

So, no, we had no fireworks and no parades.  Just a good family time, wrapping up our final unit of history, enjoying the fun of learning together and making memories. 

Time for a month off of school.  And then - 1800s, here we come!!!

Civil War re-enactment, anyone???  ;-)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I "Heart" Aaron Copeland

I don't have time for much tonight. . . but. . . .sigh. . . . .

I love Aaron Copeland.  In the musical sense, that is.

Tonight, I was blessed to play "Simple Gifts" Variation from Appalachian Spring, and "Hoedown" from Rodeo.  And I got to sit right. in. front. of the brass as they played Fanfare for the Common Man.


If I was a good blogger - which, lately, I'm not - I would download a thingamawidget to play Copeland music the minute you load my blog. 

But seeing as how I have 11 kids descending upon my house tomorrow morning for science camp, I'd better use my time more wisely to go to sleep.

You, dear readers, need to go post-haste to iTunes, and download some Copeland.  You won't regret it.

I promise.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Finding Joy in the Small Things

Sometimes, it's the little things that make me happy.

Tonight, it was finding the mini-light bulbs that I need for our science camp.

On the clearance rack at Home Depot.

For .01 a package - that's .005 per lightbulb, if you're keeping track at home.

It was all I could do to restrain myself from doing the Snoopy Dance in the middle of the store.

Ah, bliss.