7 Quick Takes: Volume 37

On Monday, I prayed to St. Anthony to help me find Friday, and LO! Friday has fallen into my lap. Amen.


I had a dream last Sunday night that I was buried underneath hundreds and hundreds of soccer balls.

Oh, wait.

That wasn't a dream...that was just my weekend.


When I was a kid, my family watched 60 minutes every Sunday night. For a long time, we've tried that here in my house, but the kids have been too little, too squirrely, too loud, too annoying...you get the idea. So instead of watching it, we've been recording it and then sometimes getting around to watching it.

But as the kids get older (because they do that, you know), things are a-changin'! We've actually watched the entire show three weeks in a row now, and the kids are starting to see it as part of our Sunday evening. Not all of them; some drift out of the living room and find something else to do, which is TOTALLY FINE. But I am thrilled that I get to watch it, and there's a bit of nostalgia in there for me, as I see my kids getting used to a tradition that was part of my growing up as well.

A couple of Sunday's ago, one of the stories, which was actually two segments worth, was particularly good. (The summer episodes are re-runs, so I'm not sure when it originally aired.) Leslie Stahl reported on Gospel for Teens, a choir program in Harlem, whose purpose is to keep gospel music alive as an art form. The report is an excellent example of how the arts can change, enhance and even save lives. If you have 40 minutes, go watch these two segments: it's well worth your time. (Google 60 Minutes, Gospel for Teens.)


Today's Homeschooling Tip: A Really Cool Pre-writing Activity!

I wanted the kids to reflect on what a TOTALLY AWESOME SUMMER they had (because they truly did) and I wanted to do a spin off of the What I Did For Summer Vacation writing assignment. So I consulted the resident writing expert (me spouse) and he suggested that we start with a Concept Map. The idea is that you create a visual representation, with words, pictures, or both, of something you will eventually write about. The Map gets to contain all the details and nuances you can think of, without having to be presented in a linear or logical fashion. It's creative and organic, and can lead a student to remember more and more details, add more and more information.

From there, eventually, you can use all of the ideas your map generated to write an essay; your ideas are all out there on your poster, not trapped in your head.

For ours, I created a poster for each kid, with the words MY SUMMER in the middle. From there, their task was to write or draw something to represent all of the fun things they did, shooting off from the middle of the poster. To draw out more detail, we asked things like: Who were you with? What did you do when you were there? What did you eat? What did you smell, see, hear, feel, etc.?

Given that it was the first time we've done this, not everyone jumped in and ran with it...and not everyone will. But at least one of my kids can't stay away from his poster, and keeps going back to it with more ideas and more details.

This activity was a success for us. I think we will use it again, and next time, I'll do one along with them.


That was a long take! Will try to be briefer.


Friday morning victory! My kids have 6 soccer games this weekend. Every weekend, we need to be ready with four pairs of shorts, 7 different jerseys (home and away for three kids), 5 pairs of socks, and team sweatshirts from three of the teams. Not surprisingly, I've spent many a late Friday night, and wee Saturday morning hours, weeping while hunting for these items.

Right now? Every. Single. Damn. Item. is found and ready. 24 hours ahead of time!

I am a soccer mom. Hear me roar.


I am re-reading The Outsiders, by S. E. Hinton, with my son. I first read it when I was about his age. We are trading the book back and forth and keeping up with the same chapters as we go. I'm actually getting teary reading it, and not just because of the story. No, it's the nostalgia that's getting me, the reminder of my younger self and how passionately in love with this book I was.

I keep having to hold myself back from grabbing my son by the shoulders and yelling "Don't you just LOVE IT? Isn't it AMAZING?" Probably, nothing would turn him off faster.

He does love it, though, so I needn't worry.

What book should you re-read?


And now, on our fourth day of homeschooling for the 2011-12 school year, we are off to the park, armed with books, water bottles and (of course) soccer balls. That's how we roll.

Enjoy your Friday everyone!

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As always, visit the original and click around at the others who are participating today.


Homemaker Man said…
That concept map idea is great. By way of re-reading and nostalgia, my wife and I have been reading Big House in the Little Woods (or is it vice versa?) the 1st Little House on the Prairie Book, to the Pnut at night.

When we went to the pre-school open house yesterday, the questionnaire we filled out asked, "What is your child's favorite book?" The above is the one she tod me to write down. good moment.

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