Sunday, July 18, 2010

School Supply Time!

Growing up, one of my favorite times of the year was when all of the new school supplies were on display in stores. Back then, I don't think it happened until the beginning of August or so, but seeing as how some stores already have Halloween items coming in, school supplies in July are probably an example of merchandisers showing a little restraint.

I've been accumulating arts and craft supplies since Henry was a baby, but I always jump at the chance for inexpensive additions to our cabinet. During today's Target run, I was able to load up: Crayola crayons for 25 cents, spiral-bound notebooks for 15 cents, various workbooks for $1, etc.

The surprise for the day was finding an entire series of adapted and illustrated classics in the Dollar Spot section at the front of the door. I picked up The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Oliver Twist, The Story of Doctor Dolittle, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, each for $1.

All of these junior classic editions will be a wonderful introduction to the original classics when Henry is a little older. One of the things that The Well-Trained Mind recommends is providing younger children with illustrated, simplified versions of more challenging books. By familiarizing them with the stories early on, children are less intimidated by the original works they'll study later.

We'll remain on the lookout for more supply bargains as the traditional school year approaches!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Well-Trained Mind

The curriculum of the Angelicum Academy is based on principles of classical education. While there is a wealth of knowledge on the AA website concerning the scope of the program, I was interested in finding more information on what a classical homeschool looks like and how it functions. A brief search in Amazon's Kindle store brought me to The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition).

Needless to say, I am devouring this book. It provides such a beautiful picture of classical education while being realistic and forthright about the amount of work it entails for the home educator. The Well-Trained Mind details schedules, techniques, and resources for all levels of home education, from infancy through adolescence. It is truly a complete resource for the homeschool.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Skills Practice

Since we've decided to delay our nursery level start date until October, I've been looking for some simple ways for Henry to practice the skills he acquired over the past year. He enjoys playing on sites like, but he truly loves creating physical works that can be placed on our bulletin board for Daddy to admire when he gets home from work.

I spotted this Big Preschool Workbook during a Target run and decided to give it a shot. It's a nice big book of activities that runs the gamut from prewriting skills up through shapes, letters, and numbers. Henry happily blazed through about 12 pages of tracing yesterday; I had to put the book away before he wore himself out.

There's a whole series of these workbooks and I think we'll continue to purchase them for additional practice sheets. It's nice to see some well-designed materials available at inexpensive prices, especially ones that Henry enjoys!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Baking by the Numbers

It's Saturday and in the best Little House on the Prairie tradition, Saturdays are baking days at Saint Augustine Classical Academy. Not only is it a relaxing activity, it's also an opportunity for Henry to practice following directions and discuss numbers. Saturday also means that Daddy is home to play with Oliver and keep him out of the kitchen. There's nothing quite as nerve-wracking as cooking with a preschooler while a toddler is underfoot.

Henry is quite the little chef, for an almost 3-year-old. He has his own step-ladder to bring himself up to counter height in order to help. He also has his own apron, but he refuses to wear it. Can't win them all.

Today, we had a rather large bunch of bananas that were quickly over-ripening. Consequently, our recipes for today were Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Banana Bread. The cake will accompany us to an Independence Day celebration tomorrow. One loaf of bread will be eaten this week and the other loaf will go in the freezer.

Henry happily mashed bananas, measured flour and sugar, and operated the hand mixer. We discussed the different numbers on the measuring cups, the numbers on the oven timer, and how to tell when the cakes and breads are done. A good morning!