My Five Students

My Five Students

Saturday, May 31, 2014

2014-2015 Homeschool Free Printable Planner

It's that time of year. Most parents are anxiously awaiting (or dreading) the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. For us homeschool parents it's a little different. If we haven't been busy planning the next school year since January, we surely are doing it now. So how about a planner? I've updated the planner I made last year with a new calender and new colors (I must have been thinking of candy or ice cream when I decided on the colors). Just click on the images to download a printable version.
















Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cakeway to the West: Celebrating St. Louis' 250 years

This year St. Louis, Missouri turns 250 years old. To celebrate the city will be placing 250 fiberglass cakes around the city and surrounding areas. It's called Cakeway to the West and it's described as "one part public art exhibit, one part scavenger hunt, and one part history lesson." As a homeschooling mom that spoke to me. It just screamed school project. So I sat down and made a list, then I made another list, then I made a map. I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Anyways, I thought I would share my lists and maps with you. I have tried to include something of value to each hunt but some of them may only end up being for fun. I do have my children navigate though. It's a fun, real-life way to learn about maps. They also take the pictures, except for when all 5 of them are in the shot. I will be working on more as we get out for more cakewalks. Keep in mind that not all of the cakes have been installed yet. So far, roughly 200 are on display. I will update my posts if more get added to an area I have already posted.
An easy first cake hunt is the city of Clayton. You can check 5 cakes off of your list. If you want to walk it it's just under 3 miles round trip. We drove that day because it was cold and windy and I have two 3 year olds. You can work in some history with the Historic Hanley House. It is only open on the weekends and there is a small fee but there is a plaque outside that tells you all about the family and their contribution to the city of Clayton. We ended our tour at Shaw Park for some play time. Here is the list:

1. Brown Shoe Company, 8300 Maryland Ave.

2. Historic Hanley House, 7600 Westmoreland

3. Centene Corporation, 7700 Forsyth
Did I mention it was windy?

4. St. Louis County Courthouse, 7900 Carondelet
(We missed this one. It is not on the official list but is already out. I will update when we get it.)

5. Shaw Park, 231 South Brentwood

Here is the map of the walk I planned:
Clayton Cake Map

Go ahead and get started. I promise you will have fun.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What We Are Letting Go

 I'm sure almost everyone has heard the song "Let It Go" from the new Disney movie Frozen. If you haven't seen the movie, chances are you've heard it somewhere. Even I posted a video of my littlest girls singing the song on Facebook (because they were just so stinkin' cute). On the off chance that you haven't heard it, look it up on Youtube. You can watch the original along with a never-ending supply of covers. It's become the anthem of a generation. The music is beautifully written to extract an emotional response, like every good theater number. In the movie it is the pinnacle of the story, where it really gets rolling. It makes absolute sense why it has become so popular. But as I listen to my 11 year old daughter singing it so passionately I see a major problem. Do you see it too?
 In the context of the movie it makes sense. It is the lowest point of the movie. The character is filled with angst and believes that she has finally found some freedom, but at a cost. She decides to embrace the "swirling storm inside" and the price tag is a "kingdom of isolation." Without ruining the movie for those who haven't seen it, the story resolves and she discovers that this is not the solution to her problem. But out of context, we have millions of children singing the lyrics, "no right, no wrong, no rules for me, I'm free."
My husband and I are trying to raise thinkers. I often feel like we are going against the flow of culture. We instruct our children to ask themselves questions. Questions like, Why do I like this? What is it trying to say? What does it mean? What does it say about me? These are good questions for everything that entertains us. Music is a particularly slippery slope because it has two parts. It's the tune, the musical content, that draws us and is most often our favorite part. But the words we say (or sing) have the biggest impact. When I say this I hear myself sounding like the generations of old who shunned popular music but, instead, handed us a good old Sandy Patty or Gaithers cassette tape. Let me put my words in context for you. Again, we instruct our children to ask themselves those questions. This means, as a christian family, we sometimes listen to secular music and disregard popular christian music. We take all music, christian and secular alike, and hold it up for examination of its content. I believe God is glorified when both the music and the lyrics are a well-crafted result of the talents that He has gifted the musician with. So He can be glorified in a beautiful song about loving your husband well just as much as a catchy song about His never-ending love for us. We can disregard songs about chasing after money just as much as songs about God making us powerful.
So what's the point? The point is that we have here the perfect storm. We have a cute movie with a really addicting song that speaks the cry of a generation. The theme of our generation and the one coming up says that rules and boundaries stifle our freedom.
      "No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I'm free."
As long as I am true to myself the world can be damned.
      "Let it go... that perfect girl is gone." "I don't care what they're going to say, let the storm rage on, the cold never bothered me anyway."
Here's my challenge to you and to me: let's sit down with our kids and ask them some questions. Let's teach them to think. The subject at hand may be music but this concept carries over into every aspect of life. I believe whole-heartedly that what we are letting go, as a society, is the ability to critically think.

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."  -Psalm 19:14
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."   -Philippians 4:8