Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homeschool Math Curriculum Review ~ Life of Fred ~

All right, time for another Blurt Blogger moment!! Shall I give yet another stale excuse for my lack of blurtiness? NAAHHH ~ All yah all who homeschool know that time is precious ~ all yah all who have kids know it too, and all the rest ya all well..... ( does ANYONE even READ this blog who doesn't have at least ONE of those things goin' on?) yah all have lives, eh?

ok ~ So this year we were on the verge of craziness about Math in our homeschool, because even though we liked our Creative Thinking, well, we just weren't being Creative enough. Believe it or not ~ there is an even MORE creative way of thinking about Math ~ May I give you


Can I just say WOW!! I want you to know something ~ We LOOOVVEE Life of Fred! A bit of background ~ My kids are 17, 16, 14, 12, & 11. They are bright, beautiful, intelligent children. They love to read & reason, they excell at strategy, music, & the arts, & they have a firm foundation of faith in God.

BUT.....(And this is a tremendously LARRGGEE BUT...) Math peeps we ain't. Well.... Until now, anyway. Hold onto your seat, because this is a stunner... my kids actually wake up, run downstairs & , get this, ( & I am not lying, or even stretching the truth a teeny bit) actually EXCITEDLY TEAR OPEN the Life of Fred books!!! (without any actual harm to the books, it might be noted.)

Even I enjoy these books and Fred's adventures!!! And more importantly, even I UNDERSTAND them. (And I am a 38 yr old confirmed non-mathmatic, excessively right-brained, creative, crafty, musical and, may I stress it once again ~ VERY non-mathmatic mama.)
I must seriously congratulate Mr. Schmidt on the very best bit of crazy wild, unconventional & yet HIGHLY AWESOME & EFFECTIVE bit of comprehensive tutorial math texts EVER written!!! Because if he can bring MY brain, and my kids' brains to not only understand ( & I mean TRULY GRASP COMPLETELY) but ENJOY math..... well, my friend, he has accomplished a literal miracle.

My Dear Readers, you should know that I have been struggling with what to do with our math for years now. We had been using the Creative Thinking books, & while those are better than the average text book, ( in fact, I think they were the best thing going till we found LOF) they pale so far in comparison to LOF that the difference becomes black & white. May I even say ~STARKLY~ black & white.

So, I was praying to know what to do, because I was so stressed about the math & where the kids were with it, & my own lack of ability ( my husband can't be there to teach it everyday, he was my fallback). I got down that ginormous Rainbow Resource Center book, hoping to be inspired, & quite literally opened it to a long & very humourous description of LOF. I knew it was the answer I had been praying for.

And seeing my kids, with their actual DELIGHT in math now has been yet another blessing as well. Do you know, just today, ( & actually every day since we started the series, which has been about 3 months now) my son was laughing & comparing something in his daily shedule to LOF. I mean actual math concepts, which he now understands to such a degree that he is able to apply the concepts AWAY from the math books. In real, everyday life. They were so thrilled about it, that they wanted to read ahead in LOF, just to find out more of the story & read the humour. But I said "No Fred unless you are doing the math as well." So they sat down, and zipped through 5 lessons in one day. My kids. Who are the biggest math deny-ers ever. And me. WANTING to do math. Honestly, that IS a miracle!

Again, this is an inspired series, it is the right-brained, non-logical person's answer to truly understanding math concepts.

Here is a link to Stanley Schmidt's website ~

Here is a link to some sample pages from Life of Fred ~

I guarantee you guys will LOVE this one!!!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fairy Tree Stump Dollhouse

Well my friends & fellow bloggers, I have taken quite the blogging sabbatical, it is true. Once again, I have done the no-show. You know, it's funny ~ it's one of those blurt-blog things, I think. Yup, it's all becoming quite evident to me now, I am a *Blurt-Blogger*. I blog in blurty spirts. Hmmmm... I could ode that..... :-D (Hmm again, maybe I will change my blog name to that ~ it DOES fit rather aptly!!)

But instead, I will save you all the pain of yet another blurty-spirty blogging ode, & launch into my latest subject-of-interest.

Ahhhh yes, the Fairy Tree Stump Dollhouse!!!!
Here we have the delighted young dollhouse owner, trying on her new dollhouse, before any floors or interior walls were added.

Why, it FITS!!

She's very proud of Wood Genius' (aka Daddy) creation.

Wood Genius is adding some detail, taking off here & there to provvide a realistic ~log stump~ effect.

And now he has the interior fitted, and has begun to add more windows & doors.

Some of the detail on the main floor, tree growth rings & stone steps, all carved to make the piece look as much like a real tree stump as possible.

A few of the side windows & doors. Wood Genius used actual door hinges to hinge this, as it is QUITE heavy.

The main front doors ~ with a carved leaf on the front, and locking bars inside ( to keep out any wandering trolls, GI Joes, and miscellaneous Lego Pirate types..... younger brother does seem to have a rather impressive army of them.)

Here is the view walking into through the front doors. Just outside the window is a swing, hooked onto the large branch stump, of course. ;-D Oh, and it should be noted that that branch stump is actually an opening, for the fairies to take off & return from. They can fly straight out & come back through it.... apparently the front door is just for their little non-flying friends. :-D

This is the view from the side door, with the stump

Here we have another view from one of the windows.

And one more view.

This is the secret lock & key, so that no other humans except the owner can open the stump. Only fairies can have continual access through the fly-in's.

And here is the secret door for the key. (To which Wood Genius later added a carved leaf attached to a leather thong, so that it would be a lot harder to lose. Because even mature little Fairy Stump Owners sometimes have a hard time keeping track of special keys for special doors.)

Ahh, The fairies are especially active at night, & love to light up the stump with parties & fun!

Sometimes they even leave the doors open......I guess these are Idaho Fairies, not New York Fairies. ;-D

And now I have added a little color to the piece. Yes, it is still a little loud, because I haven't brushed it down with a dark wash.... all in time, my little ones, all in time.....

Once I get the wash added, I will accent a few of the rooms, and finish coat everything in a matte top coat, so that the wood doesn't stray from expansion or contraction.

Ahh, here is a better view of that Fly-In branch stump. The fairies really dig that, you know. It makes it so that they can be in (& out of) their abode without human interventions. Quite handy if you are a Little People. Unfortunately, the swing had to be removed because of painting, but the pesky humans will soon be finished with their ministrations, and the fairies can get back to partying like they prefer.