Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It's a Tick, Dear!

I used to love doing Friday Farmgirl posts.  Such a nice group of ladies.  

Anyhow, with the boom in the tick population this year here in Michigan I thought it would be a good idea to revisit this post.  We have officially seen more ticks already this year than we did all last year, and it's not even summer yet!  They are being spotted in areas where they were before uncommon.  This family will be getting chickens soon, and I hope that helps.  Ticks are BY FAR my least favorite aspect of country living.  If you don't know much about them, or you would like to refresh your memory, here is the post I wrote two years ago on the subject:

One thing I could not have foreseen with moving from the city to the country was the sheer amount of bugs.  Seriously!  I knew there would be many more, as our lot was so small where we were, we had no trees, barely any grass, and a small garden.  It was a rare occasion for us to be bothered by mosquitoes.  Even though I knew there would be more, I really had no idea how many.  Not to mention there are some, at least one for sure, that you have to kind of worry about.  

It's a viscous little critter.  It's sneaky.  It lives just about anywhere.  It can cling on for dear life.  It gives no indication of its presence.  That is, unless you actually feel it move.  It can get in your hair, under your clothes, or even hitch a ride on your pet.  Have you guessed it yet?  What if I tell you it can burrow into your skin and give you a life-threatening disease?  Well, you have to have guessed by now.  It's a tick of course.

Fun, fun, fun...

So, what should we really know about these little bugs that tend to be out in droves this time of year?  First and foremost you need to be aware of their presence and on the lookout for them after any time spent outside at all for any length of time.  Seriously.  I had one crawl on the cuff of my hoodie one day as I sat on the couch after just being out on the grass for a few minutes.  Lord knows if I brought it in with me, or if it was already in the house.  Either way that little critter was hanging on to my cuff for dear life.  It took a little effort on my part to get it unattached and down the drain.  That's where I send all unwelcome 'guests' in my home.  Down the kitchen sink they go!

The first tick I had on me here was on the nape of my neck right at my hairline.  Creepy!  I was standing by the kitchen sink talking with my mom and hubby after spending the day working on the row of lilacs pictured in my last Friday Farmgirls post.  Fortunately I felt the little sucker crawling on me.  When I grabbed it, thinking it was a Box Elder Bug, imagine my surprise to see it was a tick.  Also, imagine the speed in which it got rinsed down the drain.  That baby was out of here!

Here are some ways to prevent tick bites:

1.  Avoid areas where ticks live like grass and shrubs.

2.  Wear light colored clothing so they are easy to see should they hitch a ride.

3.  Tuck in your pant legs if at all possible to avoid them crawling up your pant leg.

     NOTE:  I highly recommend this as this is the way the last three known ticks made their way into our   house.  Hubby had fallen asleep on the couch after working hard outside.  He and I had also gone for a walk down our south trail and through part of the woods.  Imagine our surprise when hubby jumped off the couch from a deep sleep and started ripping his pants off!  There were two ticks, that we know of, inside his pant leg, and he felt them crawling on him.  FUN!  The next morning I was sitting in my living room where I usually do my morning Bible study, prayer and reading when I felt something in my yoga pants that I wore to bed.  Another tick!  NICE!

4.  Use insect repellent designed to repel ticks.

5.  Don't waste any time waiting to check yourself, others, and pets when you've been in an area where ticks like to hang out.  You want those little critters gone ASAP!

To learn more about ticks, how to prevent getting bit, and what it looks like if you do, visit these sites:

This is what a tick looks like.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Politics Gives Me a Headache

Politics may give me a headache, but I am taking the challenge put forth by Dr. Ben Carson at the GHC conference in Cincinnait.  His challenge was to take one-half hour each day to learn something new.  The political climate has been weighing heavy on my heart, so that is where I am putting my focus.  I personally feel that never in my lifetime have our personal freedoms been more in jeopardy.

I remember when I first registered to vote.  I was so proud!  It was a big deal.  I was raised to take the right to vote very seriously.  My paternal grandfather was a circuit court judge, and my dad just loved politics.  Then, there's the uncle who's a lawyer.  At least on my dad's side there was always talk of the political nature when I was growing up, but somehow I managed to stay out of the loop.  Although, when I first became a registered voter I did get involved on a grassroots level with the campaign of Ross Perot.  That was an invigorating feeling.

Time has passed, and my views have matured from more left thinking to more right thinking, but I do not affiliate myself with ANY party.  (I'm pretty sure they're all crazy and corrupt.)  Never in my lifetime have I felt more conflicted and unaware and helpless, and ill-informed, and, and, and!  It's so frustrating.  Can you believe there was actually a time when I believed that propaganda was something that only happened in other countries?  Oh, how I was bamboozled!

So, this challenge presented by Dr. Carson?  Sounds simple, right?  Well, let me tell you that it is not.  It should be, I think, but it really is quite challenging.  Hence the word 'challenge', I suppose.  At first I thought it would be so simple to learn my state representatives, what they stand for, and their voting record.  What was I thinking?!  It's challenging enough to learn who there are, never mind their voting record!  Then there's that whole 'half hour per day' thing.  We should be able to find a half hour per day to learn something, right?  Well, I thought it was a pretty realistic expectation.  I have to say, "I have failed miserably!"

Even though my area of interest has been much more challenging than anticipated, AND  the time commitment required poses a bit of an issue, do not fret!  I have not given up, and I will persevere.  So, if any of my dear readers would care to share resources for my educational endeavor, I would gladly have them.  I've asked my hundreds of friends on Facebook to no avail.  Guess I'm not the only one that finds this challenging.  Lord willing, I WILL be an INFORMED VOTER by the time of the next election.  Maybe I'll even be informed enough to share what I learn with others.  Only time will tell.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Logic of English Review

Logic of English Review

As an Eclectic Educator reviewing the Logic of English Foundations, Level A (manuscript version) was a bit of a challenge at first.  It is a very precise curriculum that starts with some super basic reading and writing foundations.  The name truly does fit the product.  It begins laying the foundation at a level that I have never even considered.  Level A is geared toward children ages four through seven.  I had planned to use it with my four year old and my eight year old, however the four year old quickly became the primary focus.

Logic of English provides everything you need to teach a child to read and write.  I chose the manuscript version of Foundations A, but a cursive version is also available.  Had I known more about the benefits of teaching children to write using cursive as opposed to manuscript, a new concept to me, I may have chosen the cursive version.  As you consider Logic of English for your child, it is definitely worth exploring the idea of teaching cursive first.  I have been inspired to consider this option for my three and four year old.  The eight year old is currently learning cursive using another curriculum.

Foundations, Level A is very thorough and uses some new-to-me methods of teaching reading and writing.  The lessons are easier approached in two parts for my four year old.  He eagerly participates in the first half of the lesson which involves pronunciation using multi-sensory activities.  However, he's not so keen on the pencil to paper part of the lesson.  Over time I have discovered that he responds better if we do the non-writing portion of the lesson in one sitting and the writing portion of the lesson in another.  The thoroughness of the lesson easily allows for portioning it in such a manner.

Logic of English Review

As an educator I enjoy the layout of the teacher's manual.  It walks you through step by step providing you with a list of objectives and necessary materials right at the very beginning.  Everything listed is not included in the curriculum.  However, all items are things most of us would already have around the house; Dr. Seuss books, balls, toy animals, shaving cream, food, and the like.  Each lesson lists teacher tips, multi-sensory fun, and other bullet points, including teaching tips and optional activities.  The lessons are easy to prepare for, simple to follow, and completely able to be customized to your specific style, and individual student needs, using the provided options or your own creative variation of said provided options.

Even though my little guy isn't too keen on the actual writing process I am able to rope him in with the various options provided.  The included white board, you provide the dry erase markers,  is a wonderful tool.  So far, I have been unsuccessful in getting him to write on the practice writing sheets, but I can get him to write on the white board most of the time; a suggested strategy within the curriculum.  He also loves the tactile cards.  These are the cards you use to help teach them the different strokes involved in writing the English language as well as the actual letters.  They are textured with a mild kind of sandpaper feel, and he loves tracing the shapes with his fingers.  This is just as effective as actually writing the letters and strokes and an important part of the reading and writing process.

Avery's first attempt at the letter 'a'.

Logic of English Foundations, Level A is a much more thorough approach to learning to read and write than I have ever considered.  Honestly, at first I felt it was a little too involved, but after using it for several weeks I can now clearly see the benefit.  One reason I had thought it would be a good fit for my eight year old is that she's a bit behind on her reading.  I can completely see how this would benefit a struggling learner.  However, it is too simple for my eight year old.  BUT, we did find a way to include her.  The program is so simply presented that she is able to actually teach portions of the lesson.  What better way to cement what you know than by teaching someone else!  On occasion the three year old even becomes interested in what we are doing and participates in portions of the lessons.  So, in many ways Foundations A appeals to all of the children in our home.

Logic of English Review
Aside from the teacher manual, manuscript workbook, white board, manuscript chart, tactile cards, flashcards, and game cards there is also a book included, Doodling Dragons.  I especially like this book.  It is subtitled An ABC Book of Sounds for good reason.  Each letter A-Z is covered.  The thing that makes it special is that all the sounds of each letter are presented.  In my opinion, this fact makes Doodling Dragons a superior ABC book.  This is a super simple way to introduce the letters of the alphabet and all the sounds they make.  The letters and sounds are simply presented, and the illustrations are cute and fun.

Another aspect that Logic of English Foundations, Level A covers that I had not given much consideration as an educator is the various font types in which a letter can be presented in our reading material.  What an important lesson!  If a child is aware from the beginning that the letters he reads in books and other materials can be written in different formats how much less frustration he will experience.  Brilliant!

My overall impression of Logic of English Foundations, Level A based on my personal experience is that it is a wonderful program best suited for struggling learners and/or those that desire a specific, structured, and detailed method for teaching their children to read and write.  The program is thorough, fun, and produces a quick understanding of letters; the sounds they make and how to form them in the writing process.  There are several packages that can be purchased through Logic of English.  The products we have reviewed, if purchased simply as we have them, would be Foundations, Level A for $71.00, and $85.00 for the Foundations Reusable Resource Set.  Visit their website to explore the various package deals and to learn more about how Logic of English may benefit your homeschool.

Connect with Logic of English via social media:

Click to read Crew Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, May 09, 2014

I Love John Rosemond!

Okay, I love my husband a lot more, and love might be too strong of a word, but I do have a great respect for Dr. Rosemond.  He is a breath of fresh air to this couple right here.  We both enjoyed listening to him very much at the GHC convention in Cincinnati.  I thought it might be fun to revisit my notes and share with you what I learned.

Dr. Rosemond is very easy to listen to.  He is matter of fact and quite funny.  At the end of each seminar he left us wanting more; not that his talk was missing anything, just that he was that enjoyable to listen to.  My husband and I both agreed that we could have listened to him well into the night.

We feel challenged by the ideas of Dr. Rosemond.  His insight is well founded and spot on.  With his help, we traveled back several decades to the 1950's, and beyond, where he reminded us of the parenting styles of our mothers and grandmothers.  One thought that stuck with me is, "My mother expected me to pay attention to her."  Why, yes.  Yes she did!  His charge is that today's mother pays too much attention to her children, and that attention has profoundly negative effects on the very children we are so desperately trying to positively influence.

Based on his education in psychology and his own experience as a parent, Dr. Rosemond contends that this parental shift of sorts happened in the 1960's when parents quit listening to and learning from their elders in regard to parenting their own children.  Rather, they started listening to the flawed advice of psychologists and so called professionals.  From that point forward the behavior of our children has disintegrated, and our stress level has sky rocketed.  Today's mom has the bar raised so high that she can never achieve the standards she's set for herself, but she wears herself out to no end trying.  I have to admit my guilt in this one.  I have tortured myself day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, and even decade after decade trying so desperately to learn the best way to parent my children without messing them up too much.  What a daunting task it has been at times!

Dr. Rosemond contends that today's mother works much harder than the mothers of decades past while she raises half the children her grandmother did.  It's really ridiculous if you stop and think about it, and think about it I have.  My husband and I had already been pondering some of these things.  We just hadn't found our way quite to the level Dr. Rosemond took us.  One thing that always bothered me was the level of effort we put forth to extract obedience from our children; never mind the multitudes of failures in this department over the years.  I had already been discussing this with my husband.  Don't get me wrong.  I wasn't a perfect kid.  I made some terrible mistakes growing up, but for the most part I did what I was told when I was asked to do something.  My mom didn't have to fight with me to do my part around the house.  I knew what was expected, and I did it.  There were no chore charts, no allowance, and rarely a remind.  She never had to correct how I folded the towels or go behind me because I missed the corners when I dusted.  There was no reminder to put the milk back in the refrigerator, and she didn't have to remove something from the cupboard due to me putting it in the wrong place.  It didn't happen.  I was taught how to do things right and to do it right the first time.  There were no battles.  I've never been able to understand why I wasn't able to pull that level of efficiency off with our own children.  I always chalked it up to being a combined family.  Now, I would have to say that would be incorrect.

Another thing that really stood out to me is the point Dr. Rosemond made about his mom spending time with her friends and what they did, or didn't, talk about.  He shared that he had asked his mother what she used to talk about with her girlfriends when he was a kid.  Guess what?  It was everything BUT him!  I know I have personally spent a lot of time talking with trusted individuals about my parenting challenges over the years.  Moms of the past did no such thing.  They didn't talk about their children.  Instead, the talked about their interests and how they were spending their time.  They were INTERESTING!  Are you interesting?  I know I am not so interesting, and it has been a struggle of my heart.  I have been frustrated very much in this department for quite some time.  I am so wrapped up in my children that there is NO time for ME.  I have felt lost in parenthood for many years now.  A couple of years ago I was just glimpsing the illusion of freedom, and it did feel good, then we became parents of three instead of one.  (For those of you that are unfamiliar, we had already raised seven children when we adopted one more.  Then, we also became parents to two of our grandchildren unexpectedly.  Vacation over!  LOL)  I say illusion, because I really didn't know that I was my own gate keeper.

This idea ties into another area of discussion between the husband and myself, freedom for the kids.  Dr. Rosemond hit on this as well.  Kids NEED time that is unstructured.  In today's society we are SO structured with an abundance of activities.  We cart kids from one thing to the next, and they rarely have time all to themselves.  One thing I have known for a long time is that kids actually NEED to get bored.  Boredom does breed creativity.  My conclusion?  If we actually allow our children unstructured time to explore, play, and just be children, then we mothers will have plenty of time to explore, play, and just be ourselves.  We can take off our hats and truly be who we are.  We CAN be interesting!  We do not need to be so wrapped up in the lives of our children that we cannot do anything relevant to ourselves.  Seriously!  If we do not make it a point to be interesting and be MORE than mothers to our children our children WILL view us as dispensers of entitlements.  This, dear friend, is a fact.  I have seen it plain and simple in our family as well as the families of those near and dear to my heart.

How do you feel when I make this statement?  "Children should be seen, and not heard."  It used to ruffle my feathers.  Now, I view it in a totally different light.  I love including children in conversation, but there is a distinct line that has been muddied over the decades of degradation.  Though the aforementioned statement may seem blunt and harsh to we parents of today, there is a value in the philosophy that has been going right over our heads.  It may be even more relevant to those of us that are homeschoolers.  When children are "seen, and not heard" they are cast in the role of the student.  The distinction between adult and child becomes clear, and children are effectively taught to become adults.

We, my husband I, are still learning how to be effective parents in our home.  Raising seven children in the circumstances that we did taught us a lot.  It laid the foundation for us to be capable of raising the children currently in our charge.  Our hearts and minds have never been more open to the prompting of God, especially with regard to the care and keeping of children.  I know what I have shared my strike a nerve with some of you.  However, when I am completely honest with myself I am acutely aware of the way things have degraded within our society.  I believe in the Biblical principles as the foundation for family, and I am constantly working toward understanding what the Bible has to say and how to apply it to my life.  I long for a self-sufficient life for my children based on Godly principles and Biblical virtues.  With this in mind I will continue to educate myself, keep my heart open to the prompting of God, and share with others what I learn along the way.  Over the coming months I will continue to share on this and related subjects.  I hope the things God has put on my heart with challenge your thinking as well as encourage you along your own personal journey with your Creator, your family, yourself, and your community.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...