Friday, December 1, 2017

Cue the Hallelujah Chorus!

I hope this makes sense, it is so much easier to talk about this with a whiteboard and lots of decaf coffee to sip while contemplating.

But, we found something to help the grammar lesson from h*ll.

Grammar....I LOVE grammar class, but it can be sooooo frustrating.

Or am I alone in that?

Either way, this whole week has felt much like beating our head against a brick wall.  But today, FINALLY, today we found something that works.  YAY!!  And so I won't forget when it is time for the next kid to work through this book, I am commemorating it with a blog post.

The tools:

This video from Khan Academy and this post from last year that I wrote (ACK...CANNOT find the post, but that's ok, I will explain in a minute), combined to help me teach this lesson and HALLELUJAH it made sense to my kid.


OK, linking verbs vs helping verbs and linking verb adjectives vs action verbs - UGH soooo frustrating.  Even just typing that out makes my temples twinge with a tension headache.

I wrote the other day about asking yourself if it could receive an object - but that didn't work on all of the sentences.  It was as if this program (which we LOVE...just not this particular lesson) selected all sentences that were almost impossible to decode without the teacher manual.  Well, the purpose of the lesson isn't to just get the right answer, and I will not move on until I am sure learning has taken place.

After all, that is why we homeschool.

So I kept digging & finally, today, something clicked.

OK the post from last year:
The list of linking verbs includes am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been (aka state of being verb list and also the first part of the helping verb list).  But linking verbs can also include verb words like smell, taste, become, feel etc;  Last year I found an easy test to determine whether it is a linking or an action verb when it could be both.

In the example sentence below, the word tasted can be a linking verb, but also an action verb - how do you tell the difference between the two?

My soup tasted awesome.

I tasted the soup.

Substitute the correct form of 'be' and if the meaning does not change, then it is a linking verb, but if the meaning changes then it is NOT a linking verb, but an action verb.

My soup is awesome.  Tasted is a linking verb here.

I am the soup.  Tasted is an action verb here.

But what do you when you are trying to decipher whether the last word of a sentence is a predicate adjective (linking verb complement adjective) or an action verb?  Because sometimes the word can be a verb or an adjective - depending on how it is used.  Well, after watching the above video I mentioned and combining it with the test of substituting the verb be in place of it, I combined both and came up with this:

My brother should be sleeping.  Sleeping here can describe the brother or it can be an action verb.

So we tried this

My brother is sleep.
My brother did sleep.

My brother obviously isn't sleep - he is actively doing the action of sleeping - so sleeping is an action verb here.  So should be are helping verbs and sleeping is an action verb.

The man was being questioned.

The man is question.
The man did question.

The man isn't question, he is actively expereicing the action of being questioned.  So was and being are helping verbs and questioned is the action verb.

One last example:

The team had been discouraged.

The team is discouraged.
The team did discourage.

Discouraged is describing the team, not showing an action that the team is doing.

Now for math...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


I 'think' we just discovered a good way to tell a linking verb complement - adjective (aka predicate adjective) apart from an action verb at the end of a sentence.

Action verbs have direct objects and indirect objects.
The first sentence my kiddo stumbled over today:
Our team had been winning
Depending on where winning comes in the sentence it can be an adjective.  It can also be an action - because you can do that - you can win.  So try asking yourself can I place a direct object after it and the sentence will still make sense?
Let's try it...
Our team had been winning the game.  Yep, it's an action verb.

Another one my kiddo stumbled over today:
My brother should be excited.
It ends in -ed, which forms the past tense of many, many verb words right?!  But it also describes the let's try it and see if it can receive a direct object.
My brother should be excited the party.  Nope.  It's describing how he feels, it is an adjective.

Have you heard of Nathan Pacheco?  Oh man, he is awesome.

I am excited to get my hands on this book :

and leaving you with a cutie-patootie picture

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Favorite Audio Books, Read Alouds, Books, and Movies from this past year

This year has been a fantastic book year.

We've really, really dug into Audible and reveled in the enjoyment of having a great book read to you.

We've piled onto the couch or spread out over floors listening as I read aloud, we have been sitting in the car waiting on something or someone when I pulled out our latest book and dug right in, using what time we have to get lost in a story.

I have read my books while folding laundry, stirring spaghetti sauce, waiting on kids to finish their assignments, waiting in waiting rooms, and standing outside while waiting for our dogs to do their business...basically, anywhere I could squeeze a few minutes of uninterrupted semi-silence into.

It is hard to list all the stories that we have read this year, so I decided to choose (with lots of help from my kids) the books we are still talking about.  These stories, some from January 2017, still find their way into their daily play and/or conversations.

My favorite audio books:
Harry Potter read by Jim Dale.  I absolutely love, love, love Jim Dale's voice.
Peter and the Starcatchers also read by Jim Dale
North and South read by Kate Petrie
Edenbrooke read by Emily Elizabeth Hamilton
Hunger Games trilogy read by Carolyn McCormick

Books I have read to myself:
Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors
First Hostage, Third Target, Without Warning  by Joel Rosenberg
Deeper Waters by Denise Hughes
Sacred Mundane by Kari Patterson
Curate of Glaston by George MacDonald (still reading)
Silence by Shusako Endo
several titles by Jenny B Jones

My kids' favorites:
Tuesdays at the Castle series (aka Castle Glower series).  You HAVE to read or listen to this series - it is so enchanting and wonderful.  This series carried us along endless stretches of interstate, in October and November.
Bunnicula series read by Victor Garber
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
Caddie Woodlawn
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (in the middle of this one)
Jesus Storybook Bible
Thoughts to Make your Hearts Sing
Andrew Clements' books (too many to list)
Mysterious Benedict Society
The Reluctant Dragon

A Long Walk to Water
Anne of Green Gables (OK so I am waaaaaaaaaaay more excited than they are about this - but I LOVE LOVE LOVE Anne of Green Gables!)
Harriet the Spy
Island of the Blue Dolphins (favorite!)
The Bronze Bow (favorite)
George Frederic Handel (the sower series)
Gladys Alward (Christian Heroes Now and Then) - favorite, favorite, favorite
Where the Red Fern Grows (reading now)
Twenty and Ten
The Years of Miss Agnes
Clementine (entire series)
Stuart Little (did not like how this ended :(, wanted more from the author )
Tom Sawyer (kids did NOT like this read aloud, but I loved reading it because it brought back memories of my teacher reading this aloud to me)
Tale of Despereaux
Because of the Winn Dixie (again - favorite)
Door in the Wall
Brambly Hedge series
Inside Out and Back Again (I thought this was interesting, kids did not like it)
I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew by Dr. Seuss
Tree in the Trail Holling C Holling 
Pilgrim's Progress (Christian's story)
In Grandma's Attic series

Movies :
Cars 3
Epic (dreamworks cartoon)
Descendants 2
Country Wedding
Every Christmas Has a Story
My Christmas Dream
Journey Back to Christmas (LOVE LOVE LOVE Hallmark holiday movies...well most of them)
The Grizzly Adams series
Against the Wild 1 & 2
Swallows and Amazons
My Little Pony season 7
Scales Mermaids are Real
The Lost Medallion
Dolphin Tale 1 & 2
Mom's Night Out (favorite, favorite, favorite)
War Room
Voyage of Dawn Treader
Lego Elves
How to Train Your Dragon movies and series
Barbie Dolphin Magic
Smurfs the Lost Village

I am ending this post with the feeling that I have forgotten one or more important books so I will add any titles as I remember them.

Monday, November 20, 2017

my kids and I

just got home from our second trip to my home state of KY, in as many months.  My husband had to stay home and hold down the fort of our zoo and his job.  I always appreciate my husband, but even more so after being gone and being the only parent available in any and all situations.  In the beginning of our parenting days (for approximately the first four and a half years) he traveled constantly.  I had a toddler, then a toddler and a newborn, and then a pre-schooler, a toddler, and was pregnant while he was gone Sunday through Friday, as well as working a second job on Saturdays.

Those were long, hard, lonely years.

I realized then that this parenting gig was so hard, made so much harder when there was one parent pulling the load at home.

All the single parents out there?

You are awesome!

I am in awe of what God has called you to, praying for you to walk close to Him - that He places people in your path that will cheer you on and help you shoulder each day.

I could sit here all day and tell you how awesome my husband is, the little and big things that he does every single day to make my day easier.  For example just today, someone at work needed to switch on-call weekends and he called to make sure the timing worked for me before agreeing to anything.  When I got home this weekend after being gone for a couple of weeks I noticed that some of our clocks hadn't been set back.  I asked my husband about this and he said, 'I wanted to keep a few clocks an hour ahead so I that I always knew what time it was where you were'.

My kids and I came home a week earlier than we planned because my kids came down with a yucky tummy bug.  Anytime they can't keep their meds down, I drop whatever I am doing and make plans to get home as quickly as possible, because I know that some ugly days are headed our way.

I so much appreciate my husband taking care of home, pets, and not complaining when I bought a few too many hot chocolates while traveling.  It was so great to see my family, to help them out, and to know that he was home waiting patiently for us to return.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude and NaNoWriMo

Have you signed up for this challenge (30 Days of Gratitude) from Revive Our Hearts?  I don't know about you, but boy do I need this.

Sensory Processing is a very common sign of Autism (but doesn't always mean the person experiencing it is on the spectrum).  I wish someone had told me that, I would have had my child tested so much sooner, I would have intervened and done something more for them than just try to limp along.  Sensory Processing is a real thing, but I know many people (including pediatricians and doctors and therapists) remain skeptical of it.  I had one of our pediatrician's roll his eyes and laugh at me when my child was four and I was discussing a list of sensory issues with him.  He handed over a parenting book, one of James Dobson's and told me to buck up and become a better mom. 

One who didn't let my kids' tears and meltdowns affect me so much.  He witnessed the meltdown himself and just shook his head and told me to suck it up and ignore it. 

A few years ago I read a description of what it is like and all of a sudden I understood my child in a whole new way - (I cannot remember where I read this, but the description is so accurate and so true).  A child was describing what a type of fabric felt like to their mom, they said it was like taking tiny glass particles and having it scrape repeatedly over them. 

The tears rolled down my cheeks in big fat succession.  The guilt weighed heavily on my heart.  Looking back over the years (as my child was now entering adolescence)  I understood.  I should have pursued this more, I should have kept asking until someone listened.  No wonder the meltdowns!  No wonder the fidgeting and lack of concentration.  No wonder the complaining and not wanting to buy new clothes or socks or pants.

I read this post this morning and WOW, I love all of the resources she has compiled into this post.  It is always so good to have something fresh to try.

Did you know that tomorrow kicks off NaNoWriMo?  National Novel Writing Month!  I am going to do it this year, it will no doubt be terrible and I might fall flat on my face and I will more than likely be the only one who ever reads it, but writing is a sort of therapy for me.  A way for me to channel my feelings (the good, the bad, and the ugly).  It is a way for me to experience life, in a deeper, more meaningful way.  I can't wait!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Meet me here...even in this

I read a post on praying recently (it was in an email and I believe it was quoting John Eldridge) and it has not been far from my thoughts since then.

This person was frequently forgetting to pray for others so they decided to just stop whatever they were doing, in that very moment, and pray.  Their prayer started off with 'Jesus, come into this...'  I don't remember much else but that line has lodged in my mind.  How often I forget to simply ask Jesus into whatever is going on at the moment.

Fear of the unknown?  Worried about what tomorrow will bring?  Jesus, come into the middle of this moment.  Dispel this fear, shine the light of Your truth and allow me to see clearly.  Meet me here, even in this.

Hard day?  Chronic health issues - mental, emotional, and/or physical...Jesus meet us right here, in the middle of this mess.  Allow us to sense Your presence.  Flood our spirits with Your Holy Spirit.  Please surround _________________ with Your feathers, tuck ______________ under Your wings.

Conflict with someone you care about?  A conflict between two people you love?  Jesus, come dwell in the midst of this.  Meet me here, even in this moment.

Best day ever?  Butterflies landing on your child's hands, getting to see your husband again after a week or so apart?  Warm cups of hot chocolate and lazy fall afternoons reading?  Jesus, meet us here in the middle of this beautiful day so that I can bask in Your goodness.  Come into these moments of joy so that they may be complete.

Jesus, come. 

Come into this, teach us to live our deepest emotions. 

Joy, grief, sadness, pain, fear, anxiety, anger, elation, excitement...

Meet me here.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

I want to say something.
Something that succinctly ties in scripture with the onslaught of devastation that has completely covered the news headlines recently.

But I worry that a lot of times that comes across as trite. 

So I don't know what to say.

I talked to my kids today about the Las Vegas tragedy.  I never know how much current events to expose them to.  They need to know what is going on, they need to learn how to pray and that the world is bigger than just our own pains and chronic issues.  But it is hard to explain how someone could take a gun and shoot into a crowd of people.  It is hard to explain that level of evil - that level of hate - that level of carnage. 

It is hard to wrap my mind or heart around that level of hurt.

My kids and I just finished the Door in the Wall and Inside Out and Back Again. 

Both excellent books. 

I am reading a book called Deep Waters by Denise Hughes.  SUCH a great book.

We just got home from a long walk that involved seeing lots of beautiful flowers, huge butterflies, ducks, geese, waterfalls, art statues, people busy moving about their day, and the eating of chocolate chip cookies. 

I love long walks.

I love the chatter of my kids as they take in the world around them.  I love the feeling of stress melting away the more steps that we take.  I love the beauty of the sky, the blue with the tuft of clouds strung out across it. 

It is hard to reconcile one with the other.  The fact that so much pain and so much beauty can coexist in a day.