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Encouragement For The Week




"The biggest lie, the biggest deception of popular culture is the infantile notion that we can have it all. 
We can't-everything has a price. 
Wealth almost always comes at a cost to family well-being. 
Hurry erodes love. 
Self-centeredness costs us in the loneliness it leaves behind, in the relationships we neglected to build because building them involved giving them our time.

The lesson of all of this is a tough one-we have to choose.  
We have to sequence things. 
We have to let some things go. 
We have to give something up to get something more precious."

Encouragement For The Week


"Oh, women in homes, love them. Think of those who are daily torn from homes to stay all day inside closed walls, surrounded with office fixtures-no pretty curtains, no gay cushions, no little piano to drop down to in a stolen moment, no radio to tune in one, no books or magazines to read and sketch from, no real relaxation until night. 

Oh, yes there are duties in a home, little children to soothe, dress and feed, and work aplenty. But after all, they are your very own and it's your home. When the suds foam high in the washtub and you hang garments under a blue sky, think just a moment of office workers who long for homes with curtains at the windows, clothes waving in the sunshine, and beets in a jar."

Iowa-October 1933

Encouragement For The Week

"Love is not just something you say, it is something you do! My grandfather passed on an old saying to me that goes, "You can fake like you care but you can't fake being there." 

To send messages of love to your children, you must show up. Love is not a spectator sport. Most kids would probably not articulate it, but almost every kid spells "love" T-I-M-E.

There is a fallacy loose in the world. Parents try to rationalize a lack of time for their children by saying, "We give quality time to our kids."  Baloney! It is impossible to turn on quality time. 
We adults can't turn on quality time with each other and it is even more impossible to do with our children.

There is TIME, period."



Summer Learning/Boy Books

Almost every year I've had a small easy plan for the kids to keep their brains "warm" all summer long.  Some summers we have started strong and eased up, which is ok, and others I just didn't have the energy to add it to my things "to do".  This summer I made sure Andrew (13) and Patrick (9) had a plan.  

In the past I've used Summer Bridge books.  I wanted to make learning more personal this year so I asked Andrew what he would like to do.  He is reading the entire Harry Potter series  (I really wanted him to finish the vocab book that came home almost unused but we made a trade-off.)  He's been wanting to read them all again, but didn't have time during school.  He has a book light and reads before he falls asleep.  I also found this short language lesson that he is doing every day in Spanish.  I would LOVE to add one other daily short video lesson (history or Catholicism?) for him, if you have any suggestions let me know please!

For this guy, we picked out a bunch of books-he has told me he likes biographies, or fiction or fact about dogs.  I went to work and found some of our old favorites and new ones too.  A workbook is NOT a way to this kid's heart, so I went the heart route (except with math.)

We are reading these great books together (just finished Henry Ford and loved it).  I read one chapter, he reads another.  

We've always loved Who Was books:

Who Was (Is)-

Childhood of Famous Americans-another favorite around here:




I also bought this book for him to read at night by himself.  It's hard for to find books at his level to read on his own without struggling and that aren't silly.  This one is great so far, I'm on the lookout for more like this.

For writing work, we are taking his favorite book ever, and choosing a dog, drawing a picture, and writing 3-4 factual sentences about the dog in a blank book I bought at Target a couple years ago that summarize the dog's traits.

I originally bought this math book that a friend suggested to me (and I really do like-the pace it moves and practice it gives is perfect for us) but we took a small break to finish the next one and really practice math facts.

So far this has been great. It introduces "tiers" very slowly and with a little "trick" to teach each number.  Math facts are so easy for some kids to learn and so hard for others.  For me, they were torturous.  I still remember standing in the living room with my dad or mom while they flashed me cards and it would take me so long.  I didn't have the memory or concentration for it and it just stressed me out so much I couldn't think straight.  I hate flashcards to this day-and math.  I just read a very interesting theory on math required to be done quickly and how that creates math hatred and is unnecessary how some of the smartest mathematicians work very slowly and struggled with timed tests.  Our school doesn't do that and uses a very different math program that I love (and would have helped me understand as a child), but they still need to know facts of course as we move on to multiplication.




Anyush: A Favorite Book


My sister-in-law lent me this book to read-her daughter befriended the author's daughter, who was studying abroad at my niece's college.  It sat on my shelf too long till this last weekend when my SIL asked if I read it.  I went home and started it that night and finished it as quickly as I could-it called my name when I couldn't get to it-I thought about it when it wasn't in my hands.

It was so so good and I will remember this story forever.  It is historical fiction-a love story at it's foundation- but most of the characters are based on real people, and I learned so so much about something I knew nothing about-the Armenian Genocide.  Some parts are hard to read-heartbreakingly difficult, but how could they not be-the atrocities were real and horrific and Martine Madden turns historical facts and statistics into a tender story.

A very memorable book, and I believe that if had enough press it would be (should be!) on best-seller lists.

Here's the synopsis:

On the Black Sea coast, Anyush Charcoudian dances at her friend’s wedding, dreaming of a life beyond her small Armenian village. Defying tradition, she embarks on a secret and dangerous affair with a Turkish officer, Captain Jahan Orfalea. As the First World War rages, the Armenian people are branded enemies of the state, and atrocities grow day by day. Torn apart and catapulted into a struggle to survive in the face of persecution and hatred, the lovers strive desperately to be reunited.