Category Archives: Love this Resource

Wonders of the Internets

Hurry for the internet, which allows us to peek in on our little camper, even if she forgets to use the stationery and stamps we supplied her.

This is the camp she attends.

And here is a photo of her I found — do you think she is excited to be there?


In other online news, I am on twitter, so feel free to call yourself to my attention so I have someone to follow.

My young one is requiring my attention — being the only child in the house right now — so I will direct you to one other internet location, my friend’s cool new homeschooling site: Homeschool Recess.



Filed under Love this Resource

Recent Resources

Whew! It has been a crazy week, with a million little blog posts I let go.

But I have come across a few things worth sharing.

First off, we are trying something really different for us. We bought a boxed curriculum on the East. It’s from a well-known Christian curriculum provider, with a missionary and evangelical slant, so we have also joined a Yahoo list about how to use the curriculum in a more secular way. (More on that another time.) One of the resources suggested on the list was Material World, a book that was well-known a while ago. In it, families from all over the world set all of their possessions out in front of their homes for “The Big Picture,” which is accompanied by info about each family’s life and the country they live in, plus some extra photos. For each country a small table highlights things like the percentage of family income spent on food; the number of possessions such as radios, bicycles, TVs, computers; yearly income in US dollars.

This is a wonderful book, and Violet immediately started poring over it. But I found something possibly even more wonderful at the library. There is a series of books for children based on the Material World book, using many of the same photographs plus several more, and including more information about family and children’s lives. The font is larger, the data is more manageable, and in general the book is a better fit for younger kids. There are about 10 of them in the series, such as A Family from Vietnam, A Family from Germany, A Family from Guatemala, and so on.

The books don’t really advertise their connection to Material World — Violet noticed it after I had grabbed A Family from China off the shelf at the library. They are a great way to present this interesting project in a more child-friendly way.

A Facebook friend has pointed me to a very fun resource for Victoria. I put out a call for resources on microbes, especially bacteria and viruses, on Facebook and an e-mail list, and one cool thing I got back was the Microbe Zoo.

I also found these coloring pages.



We went to see Azur and Asmar, and it was beautiful and amazing. Violet really enjoyed it, though we left Victoria at home. (She assumes that most movies will be too scary in the theater.) It is touring arthouse and museum theaters, but may get a wider release. If it comes to you, go!

I did have to write a letter to the theater about the violent previews — they were violent documentaries, with gunshot victims, men pointing machine guns at children, blood-soaked clothing. Violet had a friend with her, and I nearly grabbed them and pulled them out of the theater, but I kept thinking the worst was over. Her friend’s mother later reported that he said, “Those previews were totally inappropriate for this movie. What were they thinking?!” I haven’t heard from the theater yet, but I did also notify the distributor to suggest that they encourage future venues to use better judgement, and I did hear from them, at least.

Will I ever be able to write more than tidbits again? I’m not sure. I have hopes that when the sun comes back more regularly, my concentration and mental acuity will return with it.


Filed under Curriculum, Love this Book, Love this Movie, Love this Resource

South Dakota Extravaganza

We often fly to SD, but the girls insisted on a road trip, so this time we drove from St. Paul to the Black Hills. (Clearly in this photo we haven’t reached the hills.)


We went to a great museum in Rapid City, called the Journey, which traces South Dakota history from the dinosaurs through the Lakota and pioneers to the present, focusing on geology, archeology, and anthropology as well as history.


Lots of good hands on stuff to do in addition to a great collection of fossils, rock samples, native and pioneer artifacts, and more.


We also went to Custer State Park for the Chuckwagon and a stay at one of my favorite parts of the park, Sylvan Lake.


The view across from our cabin:


The chuckwagoneers:


We saw all kinds of wildlife on the ride to the dinner, and “Cowboy Keith” led the haywagon in lots of old Americana songs.

On our last day we went to an amusement park type place:


Victoria didn’t like the go-karts, but these weird bumper cars were right up her alley.


The hit of the day was probably the bumper boats (I did them myself on the first go round, but that’s my mom burnishing her Grandma credentials with the girls).


You definitely will get wet.



Filed under Family Fun, Love this Resource, Uncategorized

What I’m Not Blogging About

— The lovely new books we’ve received from my old friend S. this week, including 4 from The Borrowers series and 3 Enid Blyton novels. Really, how many of your old grad school friends have sent 7 books halfway across the country to children they haven’t seen since the oldest was 15 months? (That is, before the younger was a twinkle in her mother’s eye.)

— The fun we’re having with Chinese Pod. This is just suiting us perfectly right now. Violet’s interest in Chinese is higher than ever.

— Living with intense children, when to sympathize, when to ignore, when to scold. Worrying what will happen to a 5-year-old who feels everything so deeply when she gets to be a teenager.

— The ache in my muscles since getting a new gym membership — the benefits of a work-at-home spouse.

— My review of the book Bonk, by Mary Roach, my love for the Amanda Root-Ciaran Hinds Persuasion

— Assorted thoughts on manners, friends, and blogging, especially the observation that I may be too conflict-averse to be a decent blogger. Comment threads on most national online media make me want to trigger a global nuclear catastrophe and see if the cockroaches couldn’t do a better job with this planet. Or maybe I just need another beer . . .


Filed under Love This, Love this Book, Love this Movie, Love this Resource, Oh Mother

More from Sen Lin Hu

welcome to sen lin hu

A few more photos and a little more follow up.

To answer Cher Mere’s question from the comments, yes it is a Concordia camp. I can tell that Violet made a big jump in speaking and listening ability after 2 weeks. I am excited for her, and also excited because I think I may have sweet talked an old friend (and zhongguo tong) into talking to her on the phone periodically to help her keep her conversational abilities going. (Plus then I have yet another family member helping me keep in touch with my friend.)

An interesting thing about the camp experience was that Violet was very aware that at 9 she was a little kid. The one-week camps had a lot of younger kids, 7 and 8, but even though this session of the 2-week camp was ages 8-12, Violet was pretty clearly one of the younger ones. She noted to me that even some of the 10-year-olds seemed to try to act very “teenager-y.” She’ll never do soccer at Sen Lin Hu again — the big kids would never pass to her! But she did make friends with some older kids, too.

closing program singing

Last night I was helping her dry off after a shower, and I commented that 9 was a great age, because you are getting big, but you’re still little. She asserted that she’s still little, and won’t be half-big, half-little until next year, until she’s 10. Knowing that Violet has always thought of herself as pretty big, I was a little surprised at her comment, but not that much. Going away to camp was a positive experience — I don’t think that she felt scared or bad. She just got to see up close that she’s not like the big girls yet, and she’s good with that. But she is still pleased that a boy asked her to dance on the last night!

They dance to Chinese pop music, such as this hit, which I think is either called “Kan guo lai” (“look over here”?) or Dui mian de nu hai:

kan guo lai

But by far the camp favorite is Superstar (the video is from the original performer):


This is just a tiny bit of the campers who were at the session.


It’s scary to think about having 2 Concordia campers someday — maybe we’ll win the lottery before then.

sen lin hu


Filed under From Violet, Love this Music, Love this Resource, Socialization

The Big News

NO — although it seems to be contagious right now in blogland, I am not having another baby. Whew!

Our big family news is that the last wayward member of our family of 4 is about to come home. Meaning, DH/Eggmaster has his last day of his out-of-the-house job tomorrow. And from then on, he’s working from home!

You may not be surprised that my homeschooling friends are envious — except the ones who have already managed all family members at home — while my other friends wonder how we will survive. I wonder that a little too, of course, but mainly I think it will be great.

This is part of how we’ll manage the no-nanny arrangement. Eggmaster will have to work from home, not just be home, but the girls can certainly handle themselves with an adult standing by for emergencies. Eggmaster has said that he’d like to work with the girls on math and science during his lunch break (he’ll keep fairly conventional hours, at least to start), which should be nice for all. Violet has been peeking into her new Challenge Math book since getting back from camp, and she is looking forward to doing calculus with dad, who is a big calculus fan. (Victoria would have been named Isaac, after Isaac Newton.) Challenge Math has a nice intro to graphing equations too!

[A side note: I want to cover radicals and negative numbers in greater depth during the next year — fall 2009 I’m thinking we may try Art of Problem Solving algebra, and that’s what she needs to work on first. A lot of slightly older kids go right from Singapore 6 into AOPS, but Violet needs more time. What resources have you got for me?]

But that’s not this week — this week Eggmaster gets a few days off before heading off to get oriented at the new place (and then returning to telecommute), and we have friends from India staying with us a few days. Violet still seems worn out from camp, too, though she is dying to start lessons on Chinese Pod. That may have to wait until next week too.

If, next week, you don’t hear from us, either we are in a state of total bliss or we have gone insane from the closeness.


Filed under Curriculum, Family Fun, Gifted Ed, Love this Resource, Oh Mother

We’re Back — again

Homeschooling really seems to put the travel bug in us. I was so busy prepping for this trip that I never mentioned we were going away, but now we’re home and ready to celebrate a snow-covered Easter. Violet was rather annoyed that we would have a snowy Easter (the notion that Lent means spring never sounds quite right in Minnesota), but I told her the world was wearing white vestments, just like Fr. would. (Need I say this was not at all poetic or wonderful to my children, who want a green Easter.)

I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned that, just like Rocky Raccoon, I can call the Black Mining Hills of [South] Dakota home. (Why the Beatles added “mining” is a bit of a mystery. There is not all that much mining happening there.) I grew up there, and my mom and stepdad are there, and it is a great place to visit.

The girls were old enough that both of them could enjoy some sightseeing. We went to the wonderful Journey museum, which should not be missed by any who travel that way. It combines two geological/archeological museums, a Native American collection, and a pioneer collection into one place to tell a unified (but of course at times sad and complicated) story of the Black Hills. You start with rock formations and dinosaur skeletons and end with the frontier.

I can’t post all the photos Violet took of cave etchings, stone age tools, beaded toys and dolls, and the train seats, but here are the girls whooping it up:



We also went to Mount Rushmore: first time for Victoria, first time Violet could actually remember. Violet was intent on drawing it, but Victoria just loved running in the fresh air.



They also had a good game of pinecone hockey:


I had to work quite a bit on this trip, but I could not feel too bad about it. This was my desk:



Today we have eggs to boil, another manuscript to pop in the mail, and a lot of cleaning up to do. I’m determined to get out of the house today, though the snow is pouring down heavily right now. (Indeed, I have to stop at the library before I can ship my MS.) To all who are celebrating Easter this Sunday, have a wonderful weekend!


Filed under Family Fun, Love this Resource