Sep 042010

OK, I know it is ridiculous to be so tired so early into the school year, but this week really wore me out! Part of it is because I think I may have overscheduled myself. (OK, I know I have.) You remember that old commercial where the guy is at his desk saying, “I can do that. I can do that. I can do that. How am I going to do this????” That’s a little how I’ve been feeling. Thankfully a few of the things are short term commitments.

The biggest difficulty has been my son and his cross country practices. He has practices on both Mondays and Wednesdays at 7 am. (Not to mention 6 pm on Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays and 9 am on Saturdays! He doesn’t have to attend all of them, but needs to run if he doesn’t.) Thankfully my husband drops him off in the morning, but I have to get the other kids ready to pick him up by 8! So 2 mornings this week have started by my frantically yanking children out of bed, having them throw clothes on, choke down a bite of breakfast, then run to the van to pick up their brother. Unfortunately, the practices have run late! So then I’ve ended up sitting in the van with tired, hungry, irritable kids waiting…. I did find out that I can be there at 8:15 from  now on. Those 15 minutes may make a big difference in my morning.

The good news is, we started back with Tapestry of Grace Year 2 this week. We’re picking up where we left off, so we’re starting Unit 3 which begins with Jamestown. I’ve been reading the Dialectic history selections (from This Country of Ours) aloud in the mornings for all the kids. Then I’ve been reading the Dialectic literature selection, Almost Home, aloud at lunch. We’re on track with This Country of Ours, but a bit behind on Almost Home. I don’t necessarily plan on doing all the reading aloud for the whole unit. (Actually, I know I can’t possibly do that.) But this time I liked the literature selection for Dialectic level better than the Upper Grammar one, so I decided to have both the older kids do the same literature.

We did one fun (and yummy) project this week.

Cookie dough maps! Because I am a martyr like to cook from scratch, I made homemade sugar cookie dough. (It would work just as well with store bought.) There are maps taped to the table under the parchment paper. Then the kids spread the dough to cover the maps. We decorated with chocolate chips for the mountain ranges and green sugar.

Then we baked the maps on the parchment paper on a cookie sheet. I think this is after we baked it. My daughter added blue sugar for the Great Lakes.

This is my older son’s map after baking. He thought the others used too many chocolate chips (like there could be such a thing!) for the mountains. He also was NOT interested in having his picture made with a cookie!

All the other subjects are going well for the older two children. Teaching my younger son anything is like pulling teeth. I’m really struggling with him. It is very difficult to get his attention.

My older son has almost finished Module 1 of Apologia General Science. I expect an “interesting” discussion when I explain to him that he needs to study for a test! My plan is to also add some science in for the middle kids this week. We’ll see. Thankfully I’ve got Monday off!


Oct 042008

My 8 year old daughter completed weaving a small doll blanket using a 14 inch cardboard square for a loom. We made the loom by making a small mark every 1/4 inch along 2 opposite sides of the cardboard.  Then I cut a 3/4 inch slit with scissors to line up with each mark.

Here’s a close-up of the slits.


Next, we wrapped bedspread weight cotton thread around the cardboard going through each slit and its corresponding one on the other side.

Here it is almost completely wrapped.


It is one long piece of string. The back looks the same as the front at this point. Next, my daughter used yarn to weave through the parallel strings. She chose to weave several rows of one color, working down and back the other direction and then switched colors. This made a striped pattern. I unfortunately forgot to take pictures of the intermediate steps. After the weaving was a long as she wanted it, we cut the strings along the back of the loom. Then the strings were tied in knots in pairs and cut to the desired length for fringe.

Here’s the finished project.


She had so much fun with it that I ordered her a lap loom from Vision Forum for Christmas. It’s a surprise though!

Sep 202008
Here are the basic materials and methods we used to construct our tabernacle model. I wasn’t able to find any free instructions on-line. I have a friend who told me that they had made one last year and had used the lid of a copy paper box and old-fashioned clothespins.  We started with that as our idea and went from there.
Lid to a copy paper box
60 old fashioned clothespins
Fabric scraps in off-white, blue, purple, and red 
Paper lunch bag 
Craft sticks (regular and mini)
Gold paint
Bronze paint
Tacky glue
Gold pipe cleaner
Assorted wood pieces for the tabernacle furnishings
Small box with lid for Ark of the Covenant
We purchased  all the wood pieces from A.C. Moore.  I’m sure we could have come up with some less expensive materials.  Many of the things came in packages with several so at least we do have leftover pieces for later creative projects.
Altar: 1-3/4 in wood cube painted with bronze paint
Laver: I honestly don’t know what it is. We found it at A.C. Moore. We painted it bronze, and then blue on top to represent water.
Table of showbread: 1 cm cube with a mini wooden sign glued on and painted gold.
Altar of incense: 1 cm cube with a wooden wheel glued on top and painted gold.
Lampstand: Cut a gold pipe cleaner into 4 pieces.  Wrapped 3 of the pieces around one straight piece in the center.  Stuck gold beads on 7 ends of pipe cleaner. Stuck in wooden wheel (painted gold) for a stand.
Ark of the Covenent: Painted a small lidded box gold.  Inside are 2 wooden tablets painted gray (could make out of clay), a Tinker toy end piece for the jar of manna, and a small twig from the yard for Aaron’s rod.
Tabernacle: We constructed a frame from craft sticks.  We glued a mini stick at the top between 2 regular sticks which  were at an angle.  We made 4 of those, then attached them together by gluing mini craft sticks along the top.  I should have taken pictures of the process.
We spent about a week on the project but not a lot of time on it each day. We spent most of the time painting pieces (especially the 60 clothespins!). It was kind of a pain to clean it up and drag it back out, but it was definitely worth it.  I had really hoped that TOG would help me to spark an interest in history in my children.  So far it hasn’t disappointed!
Sep 192008

We have been learning about the tabernacle in our Tapestry of Grace studies.

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Ex. 25:8)

We built a model tabernacle to reinforce our learning and I think this was our most fun project ever!

model tabernacle

Our model

The altar and the laver

And thou shalt make an altar … and thou shalt overlay it with brass. (Ex. 27:1-2)


Thou shalt also make a laver [of] brass, and his foot [also of] brass, to wash [withal]: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.(Ex 30:18)

The tabernacle with the badger skin covering

Under the badger skins were rams’ skins dyed red


And thou shalt make a covering for the tent [of] rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering above [of] badgers’ skins. (Ex 26:14)

These items are found inside the tent.

The golden lampstand


And thou shalt make a candlestick [of] pure gold: [of] beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same. And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side: (Ex. 25:31-32)

Table of Showbread

And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway. (Ex. 25:30)

The altar of incense

And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon:(Ex 30:1)

The Ark of the Covenant

And they shall make an ark…And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. Ex 25:10-11

Inside the ark were the tablets with the 10 Commandments, Aaron’s rod, and a jar of manna.

Here are instructions for the building the model tabernacle.

Sep 182008

On Saturday we celebrated the Sabbath.  We are in the middle of a 3 week study on the Israelites’ wanderings in the desert, the 10 Commandments, the tabernacle, and Jewish holidays. (Tapestry of Grace Year One – Weeks 7, 8, and 9) We used the book Walk with Y’shua through the Jewish Year  as our guide. We decided to celebrate our Sabbath beginning on Saturday night and going through Sunday instead of Friday and Saturday because we celebrate Sunday as the Lord’s Day.


On Saturday afternoon, we made challah.

Shabbat Celebration
Here we are braiding the dough.

This is the finished loaf ready for its final rise.

This is our table set for our feast. We’re just waiting for sunset. (And our roast to be finished.)

Here we are (4 out of 6) enjoying our challah.


We started our feast with the blessing over the cup. We used grape juice instead, but we brought out the fancy glasses. This was followed by the blessing of the challah. After that, it was time for our meal, but unfortunately the roast was still not ready. I made an eye of round roast, roasted at 475 degrees for 7 minutes per pound. Then the oven was turned off and unopened for 2-1/2 hours. Unfortunately, the roast was a little rare for our taste. I had tried a similar method in the past that turned out delicious. It was baked at 375 for an hour, then the oven was turned off and the roast left for about 2 hours. I used the different method because it matched the size of roast that I had, but I’ll stick to the other way in the future. There’s nothing worse than waiting for the main course! After we finally had our roast, we finished up with apple pie. It was a fun evening and an experience that will be remembered by the whole family.

Sep 062008

We have had a fairly busy 2 weeks with our Tapestry of Grace (TOG) studies.  The topic of Week 5 is the Tower of Babel and Mesopotamia.  Week 6 focuses on the stories of the Patriarchs.  We were assigned chapters 12-50 in Genesis in one week!  Thankfully, we have the whole Bible on CD which we listened to this week or I don’t think I would have any voice left!


Last week we had our 2nd co-op meeting where we finished up discussing Egypt.  The UG kids made pyramids out of sugar cubes.


tapestry of grace year 1 weeks 5 and 6

My kids tend to be slow on doing projects so they weren’t able to finish them at co-op. They finished them last week at home.


They also painted their salt dough maps that they made at our first co-op meeting.


tapestry of grace year 1 weeks 5 and 6

My older son has spent 2 weeks designing a Royal Game of Ur game board. It’s 99% finished, but I don’t have pictures to share of it yet. My daughter made a model ziggurat which we downloaded from here. She also started a weaving project.


Finally, yesterday I decided to try the no-bake cookie dough map idea.  My younger son made a map of Israel.

tapestry of grace year 1 weeks 5 and 6

My daughter made a map to show Abraham’s journey from Ur to Canaan, to Egypt, and back to Canaan.


tapestry of grace year 1 weeks 5 and 6


My older son made the same map as my daughter, but he added flags to identify the cities.

tapestry of grace year 1 weeks 5 and 6

Everyone enjoyed themselves making and eating their maps!

Aug 132008

Yesterday we had our first Tapestry of Grace (TOG) co-op meeting.  We went over weeks 1 and 2 of Year 1 Unit 1 which is Egypt.  The day went extremely well considering all of us are new to TOG and co-ops of this kind.  We started off with salt dough maps of either Egypt or an imaginary country.

Tapestry of Grace Co-op

Tapestry of Grace Co-op

Tapestry of Grace Co-op

Next, we made mud bricks.  This seemed like a fun idea, but in hindsight it was really messy with not much reward.  Hmm, maybe that’s how the Israelites felt.


Tapestry of Grace Co-op

Tapestry of Grace Co-op

Then, after cleaning everyone up, we divided into upper grammar and lower grammar groups, for vocabulary, geography, and literature review and discussion.  Then another project.  The upper grammer kids made mummies out of clay and put them in a sarcophagus folded from cardstock.

Tapestry of Grace Co-op

Then we went to the neighborhood park for lunch and came home.  I was totally exhausted!  I hope I can get used to this.  I’m really glad this is just every 2 weeks!

Mar 102008

We completed the World War I lapbook from Hands of a Child on Friday.  I appreciated having their resource guide.  I basically used their guide to teach the material.  We listened to Story of the World, watched Sergeant York, and read a few supplementary books as well.  This was the first HOAC lapbook that we have completed. We did not do all of the books that were included.  The resource guide was well organized and easy to find the answers for the minit books. Some of the instructions for the books were a little confusing.  There were a couple we never did figure out.  It was worth the price to me to have this done for me because I knew nothing about WWI. The kids still much prefer making their own lapbooks though.


These pictures are of David’s lapbook.  Anna made one too, but they’re pretty much the same.  I especially like the cover of David’s lapbook.  He drew the picture of Snoopy as the WWI Flying Ace and then scanned it and painted it on the computer.  Also, we’ve started pasting our minibooks into folders that are not shutterfolded.  Then we 3-hole punch the folder and store it in the appropriate notebook.


If anyone is interested in seeing more pictures I’ll take more.

World War I Lapbook
World War Lapbook

Sep 182007

Here are pictures from my 9 yo son’s and 7 yo daughter’s lapbooks. We used a couple of books from Hands of a Child’s Missionary Pack and then pulled in a few things about the Kalahari Dessert.  Overall I am really pleased with them.  The perfectionist in me thinks they should have done some things different, but I’m trying to remember the reason for making the lapbook is to learn about the subject, not to make a perfect lapbook. It’s tough!  I want to do more pre-packaged things, but my kids both want to make up their own lapbooks.