Writing

I'm Writing; Won't You Join Me? by Genevieve

For years we have heard that having books available in every room, reading aloud to children often and modeling the habit of reading fosters literacy in children. Writing is the flip side of the literacy coin. Few realize that these strategies apply to both lifelong readers and lifelong writers.

In our family, writing is a part of every day life for children and adults alike. When my family visits, the children witness their aunt writing her “morning pages” before breakfast. They then gather around as their uncle reads his latest poem, inspired by cooking said breakfast:

The Bacon Thieves

The bacon thieves are cunning;

dextrous fingers filled with guile.

And though five pounds before me stands, I see five devious smiles.

A pitter pat of tiny feet a pirouette and then

a slice of bacon disappears to tiny Vivienne.

But she’s so small and I’ve so much

what consequence could be?

A flash of hood, and downturned head

the rarest sight to see

three pieces lost, in a flash

to the elusive Henry.

Behind me there’s a roaring laugh.

Clomping boots make quite a din.

Bacon hanging from the lips

of mighty Madeleine.

GB please I’ll set aside

a plate made just for you.

No thanks she says

and in her grin I see there’s naught to do.

Lovely sweet Olivia picks lightly.

Knowing she should share.

But hither comes Louisa

Louisa doesn’t care.

Like waves upon the rocks

they come

oe’r and oe’r

a crashing tide

Each slice I lay upon the plate

is gone before the next is fried.

And thusly lays before me

bitter desolation’s empty leaves.

No breakfast plate has yet escaped the wily bacon thieves.

Poor

good and noble David

asks if bacon I did save?

I hang my head and swear next morn

to hide it all

within the microwave.

Inherent similarities exist  between the different forms of composition, such as writing and drawing. Consider the paintings below.

0livias-hocus

0mads-hocus

These are paintings of the same goat by two of my daughters. The similarities are obvious, and yet the styles are very distinctive.

Likewise with writing, our cadences and some vocabulary have a family flavor, yet each individual has a clear and recognizable voice. Since writing is a natural part of our everyday life, it isn’t something that we fight, worry, or cry about. It’s a favorite pastime to enjoy alone or as a group. Impossible, you say? Are you dubious that this could become a reality in your home as well? Let’s look at some specific strategies to help make it so.

Consider how children learn to cook or paint. Do you buy a cooking curriculum and fight about spices or cover their paintings in giant red Xs? Why should writing be any different?

henrys-leson2-part-2

  • You have to really BELIEVE that there is more than one correct way to phrase a sentence and more than one appropriate style.  If you truly value your child’s unique writing voice, that will carry through and make teaching easier every step of the way. One way to demonstrate this respect is by asking questions rather than making corrections.

“Did you mean to put progeny in the third paragraph, or did you mean prodigy?”

“Do you think a shorter sentence here would be more powerful?”

“Is there a specific reason that you want this word capitalized?”

“Is this punctuation here for added emphasis?”

“Is there another word that you would rather use?”

It’s not enough to simply ask the questions. You must accept the answers. Just as my family’s vegetable soup varies from yours, neither is inherently superior. Sometimes the addition of an unexpected ingredient, such as a stone, has a very deliberate purpose.

discussion-between-ann-and-john

  • I find it easiest to devote the first day of any writing assignment to content only. This is the time for brainstorming and crazy ideas that will probably be edited out later, but may blaze a path that would not otherwise be traversed. This is a right-brain activity. Ideas can be typed, scrawled, graphed, drawn, or photographed; it doesn’t matter. Now walk away, and leave the rest for another day.

burkiean-parlour-dr-jekyll-chart

I can already hear the naysayers.

“This will never work.”

“The real world has rules.”

“What about college applications?”

I have graduated two children from our homeschool using this method. Both have excelled in their college writing assignments. Our experience has been that professors admire creativity and adore students who love to write. They don’t get enough of them. Does this mean I do not teach writing structures such as the 5-paragraph essay? Of course not. Structures are tools in the proverbial arsenal.

92-on-tardis-essay

  • Revise on the second day. This is the time for moving paragraphs around and asking yourself what needs to be cut and what needs to be added – for finding exactly the right words and phrases. This is not the time to labor over spelling or punctuation.
  • Editing ideally occupies the third day. It is very helpful to have the student read their writing aloud.

“Are you happy with how it sounds?”

“Does it convey what you intended to say?”

“Does it sound finished?”

These are questions that only the author can answer.

Just as children who grow up in a family where adults enjoy cooking learn to cook and children who grow up in a family where adults enjoy painting learn to paint, so too  children who grow up surrounded by writers learn to write. Writing should be done in a spirit of collaboration rather than condemnation. One way to achieve this is by requesting the children’s help when you are revising your own writing. We try to create the same close, warm feelings about writing together as we do when reading aloud. This is critical because even published authors can find the editorial process stressful and intimidating.

  • Of course, in order for your children to help you edit, you’re going to have to do some writing of your own. How can they value something that they do not see valued by others? Writing is not a subject to be checked off of the daily planer. It’s a way of life.
  • Finally, the reading of various authors and genres is an often neglected prerequisite of becoming a good writer. How can anyone find their distinctive voice without having found the voices which resonate within them?

So, if you are tired of the fighting and the crying, snuggle down with your child and a cup of hot tea for some special time together.

I’m writing, won’t you join me?

Genevieve   

Genevieveis a former public and private school teacher who has five children and has been homeschooling for the past thirteen years. In her free time she provides slave labor to Dancing Dog Dairy, making goat milk soap and handspun yarn, which can be seen on Our Facebook Page and at Dancing Dog Dairy .

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Writing

I’m Writing; Won’t You Join Me? by Genevieve

For years we have heard that having books available in every room, reading aloud to children often and modeling the habit of reading fosters literacy in children. Writing is the flip side of the literacy coin. Few realize that these strategies apply to both lifelong readers and lifelong writers.

In our family, writing is a part of every day life for children and adults alike. When my family visits, the children witness their aunt writing her “morning pages” before breakfast. They then gather around as their uncle reads his latest poem, inspired by cooking said breakfast:

The Bacon Thieves

The bacon thieves are cunning;

dextrous fingers filled with guile.

And though five pounds before me stands, I see five devious smiles.

A pitter pat of tiny feet a pirouette and then

a slice of bacon disappears to tiny Vivienne.

But she’s so small and I’ve so much

what consequence could be?

A flash of hood, and downturned head

the rarest sight to see

three pieces lost, in a flash

to the elusive Henry.

Behind me there’s a roaring laugh.

Clomping boots make quite a din.

Bacon hanging from the lips

of mighty Madeleine.

GB please I’ll set aside

a plate made just for you.

No thanks she says

and in her grin I see there’s naught to do.

Lovely sweet Olivia picks lightly.

Knowing she should share.

But hither comes Louisa

Louisa doesn’t care.

Like waves upon the rocks

they come

oe’r and oe’r

a crashing tide

Each slice I lay upon the plate

is gone before the next is fried.

And thusly lays before me

bitter desolation’s empty leaves.

No breakfast plate has yet escaped the wily bacon thieves.

Poor

good and noble David

asks if bacon I did save?

I hang my head and swear next morn

to hide it all

within the microwave.

Inherent similarities exist  between the different forms of composition, such as writing and drawing. Consider the paintings below.

0livias-hocus

0mads-hocus

These are paintings of the same goat by two of my daughters. The similarities are obvious, and yet the styles are very distinctive.

Likewise with writing, our cadences and some vocabulary have a family flavor, yet each individual has a clear and recognizable voice. Since writing is a natural part of our everyday life, it isn’t something that we fight, worry, or cry about. It’s a favorite pastime to enjoy alone or as a group. Impossible, you say? Are you dubious that this could become a reality in your home as well? Let’s look at some specific strategies to help make it so.

Consider how children learn to cook or paint. Do you buy a cooking curriculum and fight about spices or cover their paintings in giant red Xs? Why should writing be any different?

henrys-leson2-part-2

  • You have to really BELIEVE that there is more than one correct way to phrase a sentence and more than one appropriate style.  If you truly value your child’s unique writing voice, that will carry through and make teaching easier every step of the way. One way to demonstrate this respect is by asking questions rather than making corrections.

“Did you mean to put progeny in the third paragraph, or did you mean prodigy?”

“Do you think a shorter sentence here would be more powerful?”

“Is there a specific reason that you want this word capitalized?”

“Is this punctuation here for added emphasis?”

“Is there another word that you would rather use?”

It’s not enough to simply ask the questions. You must accept the answers. Just as my family’s vegetable soup varies from yours, neither is inherently superior. Sometimes the addition of an unexpected ingredient, such as a stone, has a very deliberate purpose.

discussion-between-ann-and-john

  • I find it easiest to devote the first day of any writing assignment to content only. This is the time for brainstorming and crazy ideas that will probably be edited out later, but may blaze a path that would not otherwise be traversed. This is a right-brain activity. Ideas can be typed, scrawled, graphed, drawn, or photographed; it doesn’t matter. Now walk away, and leave the rest for another day.

burkiean-parlour-dr-jekyll-chart

I can already hear the naysayers.

“This will never work.”

“The real world has rules.”

“What about college applications?”

I have graduated two children from our homeschool using this method. Both have excelled in their college writing assignments. Our experience has been that professors admire creativity and adore students who love to write. They don’t get enough of them. Does this mean I do not teach writing structures such as the 5-paragraph essay? Of course not. Structures are tools in the proverbial arsenal.

92-on-tardis-essay

  • Revise on the second day. This is the time for moving paragraphs around and asking yourself what needs to be cut and what needs to be added – for finding exactly the right words and phrases. This is not the time to labor over spelling or punctuation.
  • Editing ideally occupies the third day. It is very helpful to have the student read their writing aloud.

“Are you happy with how it sounds?”

“Does it convey what you intended to say?”

“Does it sound finished?”

These are questions that only the author can answer.

Just as children who grow up in a family where adults enjoy cooking learn to cook and children who grow up in a family where adults enjoy painting learn to paint, so too  children who grow up surrounded by writers learn to write. Writing should be done in a spirit of collaboration rather than condemnation. One way to achieve this is by requesting the children’s help when you are revising your own writing. We try to create the same close, warm feelings about writing together as we do when reading aloud. This is critical because even published authors can find the editorial process stressful and intimidating.

  • Of course, in order for your children to help you edit, you’re going to have to do some writing of your own. How can they value something that they do not see valued by others? Writing is not a subject to be checked off of the daily planer. It’s a way of life.
  • Finally, the reading of various authors and genres is an often neglected prerequisite of becoming a good writer. How can anyone find their distinctive voice without having found the voices which resonate within them?

So, if you are tired of the fighting and the crying, snuggle down with your child and a cup of hot tea for some special time together.

I’m writing, won’t you join me?

Genevieve   

Genevieveis a former public and private school teacher who has five children and has been homeschooling for the past thirteen years. In her free time she provides slave labor to Dancing Dog Dairy, making goat milk soap and handspun yarn, which can be seen on Our Facebook Page and at Dancing Dog Dairy .

Student Creative Writing, Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight: "Disaster," a Short Story by Kelsie

Kelsie wrote this short story at age 13 for a school assignment.

Disaster

A small girl sat on the steps of the baker’s doorway, eating a small golden pastry. Her wild red hair flew softly in the cool Roman breeze, and she lifted a skinny hand to brush away a small strand of hair from her face. Her dress, faded to the point of no color, was hanging in rags around her dirty, bare feet.

The baker walked outside the shop, and looking down, saw the little girl at his feet.

“Go home now, little one,” he said. “I won’t have vagabonds hanging around my store!”

The little girl looked up, startled. Then, jumping to her feet, she dipped her head in respect, and grabbing the bag of food she had just purchased, she ran up the road and disappeared down an alleyway.

As she ran down the alley, a golden-haired boy of about thirteen stepped out of the shadows.

“What you got there, Marina?” he asked, looking curiously at the bag in her hand.

“Oh it’s you, Aurelius!” she cried, hugging her elder brother around the waist. “Look! I found a denarius on the street, and I bought some food for dinner tonight!”

She handed the bag of food and a couple of coins to her brother, and they walked together to their home, a blackened house on the outskirts of the city.

It had been seven years since their parents had died in a fire, and Aurelius, having their only living relatives across the sea in Sicily, had decided to live inside of this old, abandoned house and take care of little Marina, who at the time was about two.

Living out on the street in this city was sometimes easy, yet sometimes not, for they lived in the beautiful city of Pompeii. The year was A.D. 79, and though normally a peaceful city, Pompeii had been having small earthquakes the past few days.

As Aurelius and Marina sat down to eat dinner, an earthquake shook the house, causing a small handful of dust to settle on their heads. A crack shattered a side wall, and the warm August breeze filled the room. Aurelius stood up and went over to a cabinet, taking out a small blanket. He placed the blanket over Marina’s shoulders, and they continued their meal.

Marina coughed as she bit down into a dry, crumbly piece of bread.

“I can’t stand only eating bread everyday!” she complained, looking through the bag of bread and pastries on the table.

Aurelius stood up abruptly, taking Marina’s hand and pulling her to her feet.

“I agree, sis. Tomorrow let’s wake up early and go fishing.”

With that, Marina sat back down and gobbled up her food. That night, she got ready for bed earlier than usual. As she snuggled down under the covers of their only bed, Aurelius sat on the couch and softly hummed  the lullaby their mother used to sing to them. Soon Marina fell into a deep sleep.

The next morning, Aurelius was awoken by Marina jumping up and down on his knees.

“Wake up sleepy! You said we’d go fishing today!”

“I’m up, I’m up!” he groaned, as Marina giggled.

Aurelius sat up, nearly knocking Marina to the floor in his haste.

“Let’s go then!” he said, grabbing his father’s fishing nets.

“Yay!” Marina yelled, jumping up and down in excitement.

“Calm down!” Aurelius laughed, “or you’ll scare all the fish away.” And the cheerful twosome walked out the door.

Several miles away, Mount Vesuvius, the volcano overshadowing Pompeii, rumbled slightly.

Back at the beach, Marina looked up at a strand of smoke coming from the volcano in confusion.

“Aurelius?” she asked, “Isn’t the volcano dorman?”

“You mean dormant?” Aurelius laughed. “It is, but sometimes it smokes like that.”

Aurelius pulled a handmade raft from behind a large bush and set it in the water.

“Well, let’s go!” he said, setting Marina on the raft. Pushing it out into the water, Aurelius pulled himself up on the raft and grabbed a paddle. Using it like a pole, he pushed them out into the ocean.

At that moment, Mount Vesuvius began to rumble. Ash went flying into the air, along with dust and fragments of rocks. A blast of warm air sent the raft and its occupants gliding further into the ocean. Marina and Aurelius watched in horror as their home, the beautiful Pompeii, was covered in ash.

Aurelius held tightly to Marina as the current pulled their raft deep into the Tyrrhenian Sea, away from their now-destroyed home, away from everything they had ever known. They both cried openly, the salty air stinging their faces.

Two days later, the brother and sister washed up on the shores of Sicily, hungry and thirsty – but still alive. A passing sailor found them lying on the beach. Seeing the shape they were in, he took them to the city’s doctor. As soon as he brought them inside the door, a nurse began crying and ran to them. This was their aunt, Acadia, who had moved to Sicily with her husband several years ago. Taking full charge of the children’s care, she adopted them into her family.

Aurelius and Marina lived the rest of their lives happy, part of a family.

Student Creative Writing, Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight: “Disaster,” a Short Story by Kelsie

Kelsie wrote this short story at age 13 for a school assignment.

Disaster

A small girl sat on the steps of the baker’s doorway, eating a small golden pastry. Her wild red hair flew softly in the cool Roman breeze, and she lifted a skinny hand to brush away a small strand of hair from her face. Her dress, faded to the point of no color, was hanging in rags around her dirty, bare feet.

The baker walked outside the shop, and looking down, saw the little girl at his feet.

“Go home now, little one,” he said. “I won’t have vagabonds hanging around my store!”

The little girl looked up, startled. Then, jumping to her feet, she dipped her head in respect, and grabbing the bag of food she had just purchased, she ran up the road and disappeared down an alleyway.

As she ran down the alley, a golden-haired boy of about thirteen stepped out of the shadows.

“What you got there, Marina?” he asked, looking curiously at the bag in her hand.

“Oh it’s you, Aurelius!” she cried, hugging her elder brother around the waist. “Look! I found a denarius on the street, and I bought some food for dinner tonight!”

She handed the bag of food and a couple of coins to her brother, and they walked together to their home, a blackened house on the outskirts of the city.

It had been seven years since their parents had died in a fire, and Aurelius, having their only living relatives across the sea in Sicily, had decided to live inside of this old, abandoned house and take care of little Marina, who at the time was about two.

Living out on the street in this city was sometimes easy, yet sometimes not, for they lived in the beautiful city of Pompeii. The year was A.D. 79, and though normally a peaceful city, Pompeii had been having small earthquakes the past few days.

As Aurelius and Marina sat down to eat dinner, an earthquake shook the house, causing a small handful of dust to settle on their heads. A crack shattered a side wall, and the warm August breeze filled the room. Aurelius stood up and went over to a cabinet, taking out a small blanket. He placed the blanket over Marina’s shoulders, and they continued their meal.

Marina coughed as she bit down into a dry, crumbly piece of bread.

“I can’t stand only eating bread everyday!” she complained, looking through the bag of bread and pastries on the table.

Aurelius stood up abruptly, taking Marina’s hand and pulling her to her feet.

“I agree, sis. Tomorrow let’s wake up early and go fishing.”

With that, Marina sat back down and gobbled up her food. That night, she got ready for bed earlier than usual. As she snuggled down under the covers of their only bed, Aurelius sat on the couch and softly hummed  the lullaby their mother used to sing to them. Soon Marina fell into a deep sleep.

The next morning, Aurelius was awoken by Marina jumping up and down on his knees.

“Wake up sleepy! You said we’d go fishing today!”

“I’m up, I’m up!” he groaned, as Marina giggled.

Aurelius sat up, nearly knocking Marina to the floor in his haste.

“Let’s go then!” he said, grabbing his father’s fishing nets.

“Yay!” Marina yelled, jumping up and down in excitement.

“Calm down!” Aurelius laughed, “or you’ll scare all the fish away.” And the cheerful twosome walked out the door.

Several miles away, Mount Vesuvius, the volcano overshadowing Pompeii, rumbled slightly.

Back at the beach, Marina looked up at a strand of smoke coming from the volcano in confusion.

“Aurelius?” she asked, “Isn’t the volcano dorman?”

“You mean dormant?” Aurelius laughed. “It is, but sometimes it smokes like that.”

Aurelius pulled a handmade raft from behind a large bush and set it in the water.

“Well, let’s go!” he said, setting Marina on the raft. Pushing it out into the water, Aurelius pulled himself up on the raft and grabbed a paddle. Using it like a pole, he pushed them out into the ocean.

At that moment, Mount Vesuvius began to rumble. Ash went flying into the air, along with dust and fragments of rocks. A blast of warm air sent the raft and its occupants gliding further into the ocean. Marina and Aurelius watched in horror as their home, the beautiful Pompeii, was covered in ash.

Aurelius held tightly to Marina as the current pulled their raft deep into the Tyrrhenian Sea, away from their now-destroyed home, away from everything they had ever known. They both cried openly, the salty air stinging their faces.

Two days later, the brother and sister washed up on the shores of Sicily, hungry and thirsty – but still alive. A passing sailor found them lying on the beach. Seeing the shape they were in, he took them to the city’s doctor. As soon as he brought them inside the door, a nurse began crying and ran to them. This was their aunt, Acadia, who had moved to Sicily with her husband several years ago. Taking full charge of the children’s care, she adopted them into her family.

Aurelius and Marina lived the rest of their lives happy, part of a family.

Education is a Life

The Seven Stages of a Relationship, by Briana Elizabeth

About four years ago I took some teacher training classes and had the privilege of being taught by a wonderful nun who had been teaching for over 50 years. I also had the privilege of taking the class with Salesian Sisters, nuns who dedicate their lives to teaching. As a homeschooler I soaked up every minute of that class, but there was one particular lesson that has stuck with me because its application reached so far: the lesson of the seven stages of a relationship.

At first I was flummoxed as to what a relationship had to do with teaching, let alone these seven stages. Now, Sister Regina (a Sister of Saint John) was an arm-waver, so when I was perplexed and asked, “Everything?” She waved her arms in circles and said, “Yes, every relationship, even with work. The shine always wears off the penny.”

She was right. But here’s the brilliant bit, not only will YOU as teacher go through this cycle, so will your students! I don’t know about you, but when I realize something is only a stage, it seems much less consuming and emotional. It’s more of a natural process of growth. The steps don’t all happen in the same progression for everyone, but if you can see yourself and your children as naturally moving through stages of growth in your relationship and roles as homeschoolers, it releases the pressure on all of you. For instance, the terrible twos aren’t a sign that your child was born with a bad character; it’s just a natural progression of their learning! This too shall pass.

The seven stages are as follows:

1. Infatuation/Passion

Young love, excitement of a new job, a new house, your precious bundle is born and you are going to be the best parent ever –this is the stage of rose-colored glasses. Homeschooling! Yay! Posters, maps, curriculum shopping! Sharpened pencils, neat work spaces, tea time and poetry recitation will be cheered for! You will start every morning with organic breakfasts for the darlings, and things are going to be amazing. They will be the smartest kids ever, skip grades, and memorize Pericles’ Funeral Oration in 4th grade. You are going to rock this thing.

2. Disappointment/Disillusionment

Wait a minute, this isn’t at all what you thought it was going to be. The shine is off the penny. Your new boss is human after all, the washer in the new house broke, your new spouse gets really cranky when they’re tired and says such stupid things. Your homeschool students have decided they hate math, are totally unmotivated, and they can now push your buttons All. Day. Long. And they pound them ferociously. You have realized that a child’s learning progression isn’t consistent, and you’ve been stuck in a grammar hole for months. The dog just puked under the table, your baby has not stopped screaming, and if one more person tells you how to fix it all, you just might slap them.

3. Conflict/Power Struggles

Wait, this was all supposed to make you so happy! Things were supposed to be amazing, blissful, and you’re thinking that your expectations might have been too high. You are now reevaluating things, and you’re questioning yourself and those with whom you’re struggling. You might decide that this person needs to change and maneuver yourself to teach them a lesson. You may not like them as much as you thought you would (yes, even your children). You wonder if it was a totally wrong decision, possibly the worst decision you ever made in your life. How did you not ever see this side of them before? You’re scared and really wonder how you misunderstood everything. You’re going to ruin your child, they’ll never be educated, and the cute puppy just chewed off the back of your couch.  You might put your kid back into public school because it’s the only way you will save the relationship. Heck, it’s the only way peace will ever visit your house again.

Despite how you feel in those moments, this is a good sign of growth! It is a part of the process. Yes, it’s hard and it pinches, but every relationship will have to move through it if they are going to grow into a more mature relationship. Now you get to realistically look at things and make adjustments of your ability and expectations.

4. Second Honeymoon

Whew, you made it through, and you’re back on track. You’re letting the kids make toast for breakfast and letting them sleep in another hour so everyone’s not crying first thing in the morning. People’s attitudes are changing. Things are flowing better. The puppy can now sit and you’ve almost got a solid stay command learned. The baby has worked through a growth spurt and because you can sleep, you’re feeling human again. Your husband forgot to walk the dog (he always does that!), but he did remember you had a special meeting at the library tonight and he got take out so you could have some time to get ready. You realized that although this homeschooling thing is hard, you’ve noticed that your family and children are growing closer and having more fun together. Things aren’t so bad after all. You remember what attracted you in the first place.

5. Growth and Stability

This is where the nice flow hits. Things are good. Maybe a ripple here and there, but on the whole, you’ve reached some equilibrium. You’ve worked on things, made changes, adjusted attitudes, and this is where the fruit of those changes starts to be seen. Everyone is working well together. Communication and connectedness are at a nice, sustainable level.

6. Crisis/Recovery

Something always happens. You crack open the assignment book to find that they’ve been checking the boxes but not doing the work. They forgot everything they’ve learned in math in the last two months.  Something isn’t clicking, and you need to go back to the beginning and rework those basic skills. They hate their online professor. You can’t seem to teach them this one thing, and you’re struggling and at loggerheads because you’re talking past each other. Your mother-in-law said something stupid and you decided it was your husband’s fault. You boss gave someone else credit for your work. Here come the terrible twos. The house needs a new roof, and you just had to spend all your extra money on a transmission repair. Oh, and you just found out your pregnant again, and the baby is no where near being potty trained.

But this time, instead of being catastrophic, you now reach into your tool belt and just make some adjustments. You readjust expectations. Maybe you haven’t been setting the bar high enough, and your child is unmotivated and bored out of their skull. You decide to let them take on more responsibility for their own education. You have to then lower the bar again because the harder workload needs more time to accomplish. You find a curriculum that works for the child. You look at this list and realize that you child is now stage 3 in their new grammar curriculum-don’t forget, they are not only moving through these stages with you, as a parent and teacher, but with their own subjects and siblings.

The idea is that now you’re at a point where now crises are managed instead of making you reevaluate your initial decisions.

7. Mature Intimacy

This is how we roll. Yes, you will have your bad days – everyone does -but instead of taking  them as a sign of the impending apocalypse, you just make popcorn, put on a movie, and know that you can start all over again tomorrow. Or you make them take a shower, hand them another cup of coffee and a snack and crack the books open again. You decide that you’ve been cooped up for too long and go for a hike, a museum trip, a petting zoo, the library. You see that your child needs some shoring up in this one skill — and because now you know what to look for, you can catch it before you all fall and lose months. You can have bad days and not take it out on each other, blame each other, hate each other, or quit – because now you know that this is a stage, and not a definitive expression of the relationship.

Congratulations, you’re running the marathon.

Biomes, Science

World Biomes #10: Chaparral and Caves, by Cheryl

Photo: Lilly on a river boat ride through the karst landscape around the Meramec Caverns last summer.

If you have been following our study all year, you may notice that these two biomes are not on my original list. These are our Bonus Biomes! My method for selecting books has been to go to the library section on habitats and pick out a few books on each biome. In doing this, I noticed books on biomes and habitats not listed on my wall map! I have covered most of them in conjunction with our other biomes because they were usually just different names (Taiga and Boreal Forest) or subcategories of a bigger biome type (Wetlands: bogs, swamps, lakes, etc). Chaparral and caves, however, were not covered by any other biome we looked at.

I combined these two, not because they are related, but because I only found a book or two on each. We also looked around on the internet, mainly for pictures of the chaparral regions as we had made a visit to the karst region in Missouri and explored the Meramec Caverns ourselves last summer. The books we found were:

Chaparrals by Michael de Medeiros included a map of the world’s chaparral regions and a general description of the type of habitat.

What’s in a Cave? by Tracy Nelson Maurer has great pictures and information on a few animals living in cave habitats.

Caves by Erinn Banting goes into a little more detail on the habitat and includes maps marking some of the world’s more famous cave systems.

The Science of Life: Ecosystems by Jenny Fretland VanVoorst was a new selection on the shelves when we were at the library picking up our final books for this study. I picked it up as a review of everything we have studied. It is a nice way to close out our year of biomes.

Chaparral: A region found between 30 and 40 degrees latitude in the northern and southern hemispheres. Also called a “scrub land” it is covered in dense shrubs. It is hot and dry in the summer months. It is usually found on the western side of a continent with warm air off of the ocean. 

Animals:

Cactus wrens, california quail, bezoar goats, gray foxes, coyotes, California newt, stink beetle, rattlesnakes, and butterflies are some of the many creatures that can be found around the world in chaparral regions.

Plants:

Various shrubs, cactus, and herbs grow in these regions.

Vocabulary:

There are a few different kinds of chaparral: maquis, garigue, coastal scrub, mixed, and montane.

Fun Fact:

The chaparral regions are prone to large fires nearly every 40 years due to the hot and dry conditions.

Caves: There are several types of caves that are home to many amazing creatures. Most of the world’s caves are found in karst regions – areas where the landforms are mostly limestone. 

Lilly on a river boat ride through the karst landscape around the Meramec Caverns last summer.

Animals:

Many interesting animals make their homes in caves: raccoons, bats, barn owls, vultures, box turtles, salamanders, blind cave fish, bears, mountain lions, cave crickets, and glow worms.

 

Plants:

Caves are home to very few plants and only in the first zones. You can find moss, fungi, and lichens in the entrances to caves.

Vocabulary:

Karst, limestone, sea caves, lava tubes, sandstone, limestone, glacier, speleology, spelunking, stalactites, and stalagmites are important terms to know when looking at caves.

Fun Facts:

Caves have 3 zones: entrance zone, twilight zone, and dark zone.

Caves are not always cold! They can gain heat when wind blows warm air through the entrance, warm streams run through the cave, magma runs below the cave, and maintenance of the heat is aided by the insulation of the rocks above.

Blind cave fish have no pigment because they have never been in the sun!

Lapbook

We added a few pieces to our lapbook: Map of Chaparrals and Caves, Review Sheet, Types of Caves, Cave Dwellers, and Cave Formations.

We had a lot of fun with our study this year! I hope you have enjoyed following along. I would love to hear about your experiences with this study – books you found, fun projects, and field trips!

cheryl

Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.

Author Pages

Author Page: Nathaniel

Nathaniel is a homeschooled senior, preparing to enter college to study mechanical engineering next fall. His favorite school subjects are Calculus and Greek. He’s a folk musician who performs at small venues locally, and he is also part of his church’s worship band (playing electric guitar, keys, and occasionally banjo, when the opportunity arises). Nathaniel is also involved in Civil Air Patrol. For further socialization he works part-time at a taco shack.

Posts by Nathaniel:

Student Spotlight: Essay on “Ozymandias”

Student Spotlight: Imperialism (Essay of Definition)