Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Homemade Life

Tonight I was asked to label my passion. I was baffled. To me, my life is all of one piece. It has theme and coherence, but I couldn't put a name to the thing that connects my passions.

Learning, creating, sharing, writing, making music, gardening, cooking, hiking, camping, kayaking, sailing, being with my kids - the list is truly endless, and while some are more important to me than others, I wouldn't want to leave anything out. So, I looked for a base commonality and now I'm trying this idea on:

A homemade life, a do it myself life, an examined life, a not quite perfect but entirely my own life - that's what is my passion.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chapter books for a 5 year old

Reading out loud has always been welcome by my younger children. Reading to a 5 year old is very enjoyable for me because at 5 they are able to listen to a longer story and follow more complicated plots. (Not that we're done with Dr. Seuss by a long shot!) My kids seem more sensitive to tension and suspense than some, so it's been challenging to find longer stories that aren't to scary to them. Here are some chapter books my boys have enjoyed around the age of 5 years old.

Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner both by AA Milne. These are classic, and rightly so. These have been much requested recently for listening in the car.

The Teddy Robinson Storybook, by Joan G. Robinson is another great find with a stuffed bear for a character. It's got an entirely different flavor than Winnie-the-Pooh, and we like the interaction between Teddy and his little girl Deborah.

Milly Molly Mandy, and More Milly Molly Mandy, by Joyce Lankester Brisley. Each chapter of these stands alone as the not so scary adventures of a young British girl around the early 1920s.

My Father's Dragon and it's sequels by Ruth Stiles Gannett. In these books a child tells about the adventures his father had with a baby dragon. Fun, not too scary, but it does have a bit of suspense.

Twig, by Elizabeth Orton Jones is the gentle fantasy of girl who meets an elf, gets shrunk to his size, and the adventures that then commence. This was an unexpected find through Chinaberry, which has in depth book reviews to go with their offerings.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and it's sequels Runaway Ralph, and Ralph S. Mouse, by Beverly Cleary. This book is full of more tension and getting into trouble than many of the others listed here, but it's told in such a way that the kids have enjoyed it. Beverly Cleary is a treasure trove for children's books, but these are the favorites around here at this age.

My youngest is now 5. I'm so treasuring this time and these stories. My 8 yo still enjoys listening to these, so hopefully we'll be seeing these again in the coming years. I'm not ready to say good-bye!

Leave me a note and let me know some of your favorites. We've always got room for more good books.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Khan Academy

Just a quick note to share a find.

The Khan Academy is a new old find. It's got some nice visual tutorials on math and science, SAT tutorials in math, and much more than I can describe here. I'd found it months ago, but then didn't get back to it. NPR recently did an interview with the man who's doing it and so I was reminded of it.

My oldest recently purchased an refurbished ipod classic, and so has been enjoying some audio finds. Playing with the Khan Academy youtube video I discovered it can be downloaded and that my computer knows how to change it to an Apple ipod format. Yea! Now these tutorials can be watched on a portable device anywhere.

I sound like a commercial don't I? :-p

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Audio Finds

We're big fans of audio books and lectures here. I've written before about how we like to listen in the car, around town or on road trips. Mostly we've gotten stuff from the library, CD's, cassettes, and those little sound media players than you can just check out and stick your own ear buds into. We've also enjoyed podcasts from the likes of Car Talk, The Splendid Table, and Grammar Girl.

Recently I've found a couple of new resources. One of my groups posted a link to My Audio School. A homeschooling mom has pulled together an amazing group of free audio books (and some videos) available on-line. There's a subscription option, but about 25% of the content is listed free of charge. It's aimed at those interested in classical education. Great finds here!

Poking through that I discovered LibriVox. There are over 3000 recordings of books, recorded by volunteers and available for down load free of charge. LibriVox is entirely volunteer run and founded on the ideals of open source and open intellectual property. Pretty amazing! LibriVox has only offerings available in the public domain, so you'll still need the library or book store for Harry Potter and the like.

There's also the Net Library which is accessible through a local public library. Through Net Library you can check out audio books to down load and play on your computer or mobile device. I say "check out" because the books do expire.

What resources do you know about? I'm always looking for more!

December's books