Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Summer Schedule, Isaiah, Apple Pie, Handel's Messiah, Orphans, Nature Photography

Dear friends,

This is sort of a multi-subject blog post, but all of the topics in the subject line really do tie together. Trust me. You can click on the imbedded links for more information on various resources. At the start of our summer break (a month ago already) I had decided to put the younger kids on a reasonable summer schedule. Unfortunately, it took me a while to get going on it, but we have been trying to keep to one these past two weeks, more or less.

First things first. At 9 AM (after breakfast and getting dressed, which are necessary preliminaries) we gather in the living room for Bible time. We start with reading a little bit from the Scriptures. We are currently dabbling in the book of Isaiah. I am not reading it straight through since it is very long and parts of it are difficult for kids to comprehend. I'm just dipping in for key concepts and verses and we talk about them -- blitzing through seven chapters in two days so far. Then we sing some hymns. Several years ago I compiled a small family hymnal with some of my favorites. We haven't used it much in recent years, but I copied a page from it for each of us to put in our Bible notebooks. Our "hymn of the week" last week was "Trust and Obey" and this week it is "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." Ben is learning to read the song verses by himself -- such good practice for one who has just finished Kindergarten! After singing, we do our memory work with verses assigned by the National Bible Bee. Andrew, Micah, Naomi and I are plugging through memorizing the verses. Micah so far is the family champ with about 30 verses done, but I am edging up close behind. Bible memory is not only good for the heart (spiritually speaking) but for the brain as well! Think about how it makes you think! How is the sentence structured? Is it a contrast or a completion? What repetition is used? What logically comes next? What new vocabulary words can we learn? Stretch those brain cells! (Ben is also using these as reading practice!) We didn't cut up the verses pages into cards. It's easier just to hole punch the pages and put them in notebooks, one for each of us. The notebooks are all stored in one bin when we're not using them.

After Bible time is a half hour of general clean up (often used for putting away laundry or straightening up), a half hour of reading aloud, an hour of free time, an hour for lunch and cleanup, then quiet reading time for an hour or so while Melody naps. Around 2:30 we might run errands or go to the YMCA, where I try to work out with my friend Beverly twice a week. (I was going to take the kids to the Orlando Museum of Art last week, but they have ceased offering free admission to local residents on Thursday afternoons. Sigh. (Leu Gardens is still free on Monday mornings, though.) After errands (or more free time at home), we get ready for dinner, and the rest of the evening flies by from there.

We don't stick to the schedule very strictly, but it's a good starting point. As long as we at least get in our Bible time and some chores and a little bit of quiet, I'm a happy mama. Today, we're switching things up a bit and going to visit my married daughter Mary after lunch.

This morning as we read in Isaiah, I remembered a picture book, Hallelujah Handel by Douglas Cowling, that I had just checked out from the library. It is about George Frideric Handel, whose masterpiece The Messiah is largely taken from the book of Isaiah. What I hadn't known is that Handel donated the proceeds from The Messiah to the orphans of London. (Think of the wretched conditions in Dickens's "Oliver Twist.") I wanted to play The Messiah for my kids but couldn't find my CD. Fortunately, I remembered that my friend Brian had given me a tape of it when we were in college about 25 years ago. I dug it out and we blasted it through the house at full volume. (I know Micah will be humming it; I hear many classical hums from him! His 18 year old sister Rachel is usually the one who puts on this kind of music or plays it on the piano.) I plan to look up The Messiah on the web today and find the Scripture references so we can look at them tomorrow as I play some of the songs again.

Handel's use of creative profits on behalf of the orphans strikes a chord with me (pun intended). I send some of my own book profits to Headson Makazinga, a pastor in Malawi who is establishing an orphanage. My Aussie cyber-friend Viv Gregory actually moved to Ghana to work with orphans for a season. And now my 16 year old daughter Joanna is planning to use a portion of the profits from her nature photography to fund the repair of an orphanage in Haiti, where a Mission:X team from our church is going next month. Joanna is going to the Dominican Republic, at the other end of the island from Haiti. (She doesn't have her on-line photo album set up for this yet, but I'll pass along the link later. Until then, you can see some of her work at I think she is selling 5 x 7 photos for $8 and 8 x 10 photos for $12.) Here are just two to whet your taste:

Well, Lydia has just informed me that she's made an apple pie, which is enough incentive to get me off of the computer! (Oh, wait -- it's still in the oven! I can stay on for a little bit longer!) Joanna made an apple cobbler with Melody last week, and posted pics on her blog here. It makes me hungry even looking at it. Speaking of apple pies, I checked out several picture books with stories featuring pies, as well as a book called Apple Pie Perfect: 100 Delicious and Decidedly Different Recipes for America's Favorite Pie. (We made the butterscotch pie recently.) I'm going to review several of them in my next Hope Chest e-magazine, and I'll probably post it on this blog, too. I love picture books as much as I love pie!

OK, that's enough for now! Time to eat apple pie!

1 comment:

  1. What a delightful peek into large family living. Even though I am a Mama of 9 kiddos and one darling husband it is always fun to peek into other large families. Thanks for sharing.



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