Monday, September 30, 2013

Little Miss Manners, if you please...

When I was about eight, my mother signed me up for a program at Gayfer's department store called "White Gloves and Party Manners".  Every Saturday, I would put on a party dress and we would head to manners class to meet my best friends, Lana (Clifton) Amaya and Andrea (Moorer) Altman.  I always looked forward to Saturdays - except for one thing - the escalator ride to where they held classes!  (I finally overcame my fear of escalators only to have it rear it's ugly head again a couple of weeks ago in Washington D.C. when Brack's shoelace got caught in the escalator steps at the Museum of American History and we had to be rescued by somebody's sweet little granddaddy who yanked the string loose while I held Brack up - and all but upside down - as I nervously chided him for the umpteenth time that day for not tying his shoes in double knots!  This could all have been avoided if he had just taken time to stand still and tie his shoes while Jewell and I oohed and ahhed over Dorothy's ruby red slippers, but I digress.)  Back to the white gloves...

 
We had to wear white patent shoes with our Sunday dresses, and we actually wore (drum roll, please...) WHITE GLOVES!!  We learned all kinds of things like how to set a table, how to make proper introductions and how to answer a phone.  (You know before cell phones and caller ID that allows us to screen our calls!)  We learned how to sit like a lady (with your ankles crossed - never your legs!).  We even got to be in a fashion show at the end of the class.  I may have been eight, but I worked that runway. Those of you who know me can probably imagine!  Yes, I think I'm showing a little leg, but it was 1977!  Eat your heart out, Heidi Klum!



We learned so much and had so much fun!  We felt like such little ladies.  So grown up for our age.  And isn't that the trick?  Don't we like to act the way that makes us feel good about ourselves?  I still have my little yellow book and used to refer to it often until I upgraded to Emily Post and Letitcia Baldrige in my early 30's.
 
So when Jewell got to be about the same age, I started looking for a similar program for her.  Unfortunately, there's just not that much out there!  I kept talking about it to my friend, Nancy Itson, and we would always say, "We could do that!"  Well - we finally did.  Nancy and I got together for lunch one day and made plans for the young ladies at University church.  It was a busy summer, but I taught a Tween class on Wednesday night for mothers and daughters (grades 1-5).  We used the book Everybody Tells Me To Be Myself but I Don't Know Who I Am by Nancy Rue.  The girls had a lot of fun role-playing and the mothers' participation really added a lot to the experience.  We also had a Summer Sewing School for the girls (and a couple of boys!).  More on this soon.  And finally, we developed a manners club for young ladies!
 
Jewell actually came up with the name for our group - "Little Miss Manners".  Nancy and I decided that we would meet every two months.  During each party, we plan to focus on a specific area of etiquette.  Nancy hosted the first party in May.  The weather was warm, so she planned an ice cream social!  She mailed each girl an invitation, and the RSVP'ing began! 
 
As you are about to see, Nancy is definitely the hostess with the most-ess!  She transformed her covered carport, and transported the girls to a summer garden party through her decorations!  Little fairies and dragonflies were tucked throughout the decorations and the girls had fun exploring to see what they could find! 
 
 
She set up an ice cream bar and allowed the girls to make their own sundaes.  As part of our lesson (ahead of time), we had talked about exercising restraint when we fixed our plates, and the girls did an excellent job.
 

 
 
 
She mixed beautiful printed paper plates and napkins along with vintage ice cream bowls, silk flowers, hand-embroidered tablecloths and garden statuary for the perfect tablescape.
 
 
 
Nancy makes a wonderful strawberry lemonade and the girls loved getting to use the dainty glass punch cups!   
 
 
 
After our etiquette lesson on Party Manners 101 and our refreshments, Nancy's daughter Haley Scott (who was also very instrumental in the decorating as well) showed the girls how to make an old-fashioned whirly-gig with heavy thread and a vintage button.  Nancy collects old buttons and was gracious to share them with the girls.  The girls were fascinated and practiced until their mothers came to pick them up!  
 
 
Each girl was given a notebook to hold their etiquette lessons as well as to give them a place to scrapbook and journal about each party.
 
Nancy absolutely hates being in the spotlight and she will probably disown me for adding this picture.  But...you know me!  The saving grace may be that I am posting a picture of her, her wonderful husband of 30 years (Dennis), and the (newest) love of their life, grandson Crews!  Ain't he purty, y'all?
 
 
These same little girls young ladies are equally at home on the soccer field, in a ballet class or in Jewell's case - a shooting house with her daddy waiting for a big buck to amble by!  They are definitely children of Today.  Savvy with technology, adept at sports, in-the-know about every new fashion trend (if today's style can, indeed, be called fashion!).  But put them in a party dress (minus the patent shoes and gloves), serve them homemade lemonade in a tiny cup and teach them how to do something low-tech like spin a button on a string and they are equally at home...and happy! 
 
I truly believe it is our responsibility as mothers to teach our daughters about how to be more than what they see on TV.  As mothers and, perhaps more importantly, as women, we know how the world influences our daughters each and every day - telling them verbally and non-verbally how they should act and what they should wear...WHO THEY SHOULD BE.  They are watching and learning, whether we like it or not.  WE must be the voice that they hear, encouraging them to be themselves...to be the wonderful, unique Little Ladies that God wants them to be.  If we are not that voice, someone else will be...
   


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I HEART...Bible Study on the Big Grass

 
Everybody loves Wednesday, right?
The week's half over.  The weekend is on the way.
What's not to love?
Each Wednesday, I want to share something with you
that I absolutely love and can't live without! 
 
Good morning y'all!  It's me, your favorite new homeschool blogger!  (I thought I should introduce myself again, since it has been two and a half weeks since I last posted!)  We recently spent a week in DC and a weekend at the beach, so I am a little behind.  More about our trips later.  Just wanted to pop in this morning and say "hey" and share with you one of the things I love.  After all, it's "I HEART...Wednesday" in Our Neck of the Woods!
 
I HEART...Bible Study on the Big Grass!
 
I absolutely love our church!  We attend University church of Christ adjacent to the campus of Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama.  My family started worshipping there in 1974 when I was 5 years old!  We had moved to Montgomery for my daddy to become the first full-time minister at what was then called College church of Christ.  Nearly 40 years later, I still think it is a wonderful congregation and very much "home".  I am so blessed to be able to still worship with my parents and both my brothers and their families.
 
When fall is near and cooler weather begins to move in (We are in Alabama, remember?), we often have Wednesday Night Bible Study on the Big Grass.  This is designed for the youth and college groups but a lot of us adults pull chairs out of the trunk and head that way ourselves!
 
Last Wednesday was the first one of the season.  We had three speakers and lots of beautiful singing.  The weather was not cool, but it was bearable.  There was a pleasant breeze and the most beautiful full moon rising over the Bible building.  (Wish I had taken a picture of that, too.  I discreetly took a picture of what was in front of me, but decided it wouldn't be cool to stand up and turn around for a pic of the moon!)
 
It was a wonderful night of praise and study and the speakers (our youth and college ministry interns and our regular pulpit preacher) had wonderful spiritual messages with a football theme.  (War Eagle!  Yea, I said it!)  There's something special about having a devo outside.  Reminds me of my college days and Saturday night devos on the steps of the Alabama State Capital.  Can I get an "Amen"?
 
I look forward to the next Big Grass devo, but in the meantime, I'm loving Dr. Randall Bailey's class on "How We Got Our Bible".  Looking forward to that tonight.  If you're ever in the area, I invite you to drop in and worship with the wonderful folks at UCC!
 
Have a great Hump Day, ya'll! 
 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Our Homeschool Schedule...Part 3

For those of you who have soldiered on through the deep (and somewhat boring) last two posts...the end is in sight!  Today I will share with you our homeschool schedule.  But first - I want to talk a little bit about schedules.
 
As I have mentioned before, I appreciate the sage advice of those homeschoolers who have been working at their craft for years  - long before homeschooling became the "in" thing to do.  (If it is, in fact, now the "in" thing!  At least now it is more widely accepted.)  The most important piece of advice I have learned is that each family must make homeschooling "their own".  Whatever you choose to do, it must "work" for your family. 
 
 

Part of our decision to homeschool was based on scheduling.  We choose to live way out in the country, which means it takes us anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour to get to church and school.  Where we live is our decision and we take full ownership of it!  That being said, travel each day was becoming more and more inconvenient, and we decided we were more comfortable with changing our schooling situation than changing where we live.  Since our children are growing up and are becoming more involved in various activities, we decided reclaiming two plus hours of travel time each day was a good first step.   Add that to the hour (or more) of time we had spent on homework each day, and our day was becoming less and less cluttered, allowing us to refocus that time on things we all wanted to do but felt we didn't have time for.
 
As a new homeschooler, I read a lot of books and blogs and studied the way other people structured their home schools.  I quickly learned there was no one or right way to schedule.  That both scared and excited me!  I am a list maker.  I am a planner.  I love the idea of ruminating on something for a while to figure out the best and most efficient way to get it done.  So I got to work.
 
I took the list of what we wanted to study and a list of what we wanted to do outside of school and started to plot it on a spreadsheet.  I knew that a fixed schedule was what we needed.  My kids have experienced traditional school, so they are used to regularity.  I also wanted to make sure that we were done early enough each day to accommodate sports and dance schedules.  Finally, I wanted our evenings and weekends free to spend time with Gerald.  Our schedule began to take shape.

As I have mentioned before, it was revised MANY times over prior to starting school, and has even changed shape since we began.  I'm sure it will change again in the near future.  But it is our homeschool schedule.  It is what works for us.
 
Now - for the big reveal... Bus driver, move that bus!


Time
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Field Trip Friday
Fun Friday
6:30-
7:00am
Family breakfast
 
Family breakfast
 
Family breakfast
 
Family breakfast
 
Family breakfast
 
Family breakfast
 
7:00-
7:30am
Free time
 
Free time
Free time
 
Free time
 
Free time
 
Free time
 
7:30-
8:00am
Get dressed
Make up bed
Get dressed
Make up bed
Get dressed
Make up bed
Get dressed
Make up bed
Get dressed
Make up bed
 
Get dressed
Make up bed
8:00-
8:30am
Pledge/Prayer
Weekly planning
Bible
GBS
Pledge/Prayer
Virtues
Bible
GBS
Pledge/Prayer
Virtues
Bible
GBS
 
Pledge/Prayer
Virtues
Bible
GBS
 
Friday Field Trip
Fun Friday
8:30-
9:05am
Grammar/180
Creat. Writing/
Latin Cards
Penmanship/
Literature/
Lit elements/
Review Spanish
 
8:30-8:50
Grammar/
Creat. Writing/
Literature
 
Grammar/180
Creat. Writing/
Latin Cards
Penmanship/
Literature/
Lit elements
Review Spanish
Grammar/180
Creat. Writing/
Latin Cards
Penmanship/
Literature/
Lit elements
Review Spanish
Friday Field Trip
Fun Friday
9:05-
9:45am
Penmanship/
Literature/
Lit elements/
Review Spanish
Grammar/180
Creat. Writing/
Latin Cards
 
8:50-9:15
Literature
Grammar/
Creat. Writing
 
Penmanship/
Literature/
Lit elements/
Review Spanish
Grammar/180
Creat. Writing/
Latin Cards
 
Penmanship/
Literature/
Lit elements/
Review Spanish
Grammar/180
Creat. Writing/
Latin Cards
 
Friday Field Trip
Fun Friday
9:45-
10:00am
Snack
 
9:15-9:30
Snack
Snack
Snack
Friday Field Trip
Fun Friday
10:00-
10:35am
Math/Logic
Spelling/Typing/
Greek Cards
 
9:30-9:50
Math/Logic
Spelling/Typing
 
Math/Logic
Spelling/Typing/
Greek Cards
 
Math/Logic
Spelling/Typing/
Greek Cards
 
Friday Field Trip
Fun Friday
10:35-
11:15am
Spelling/Legos/
Greek Cards
Math/Logic
 
9:50-10:15
Spelling/Legos
Math/Logic
Spelling/Legos/
Greek Cards
Math/Logic
Spelling/Legos/
Greek Cards
Math/Logic
Friday Field Trip
Fun Friday
11:15-1
1:45am
Science
 
10:15-10:45
Nature
 
Science
 
Technology
Friday Field Trip
Fun Friday
11:45-1
2:00pm
Current Events
10:45-11:00
Current Events
 
Current Events
 
Current Events
Friday Field Trip
Fun Friday
12:00-
12:30pm
Lunch
Manners
Life of Fred
 
11:00-11:30
Lunch
Manners
Minute Mystery
 
Lunch
Manners
Life of Fred
 
Lunch
Manners
Music Composer
Lunch
Lunch
12:30-
1:15pm
History
Geo Trails
 
11:30-12:00
History
Geo Trails
History
Geo Trails
Geography
Geo Trails
Lunch
Lunch
1:15-
1:45pm
Art
 
12:00-12:15
Latin
Spanish
Greek
Library
Library
1:45-
2:00pm
Civics
 
 
Financial Peace
Junior
Friday Prep
 
 

Jewell's work is in pink.  Brack is scheduled in green.  Things we do together are in blue.

 Well - there it is!  In all it's (ahem...) glory.  Some days it is 2:00 when we finish, and some days we are done as early as 11:30.  It all depends on what we are doing that day and how diligent we are about keeping our nose to the grindstone.  
 I have to admit I am a little nervous publishing this.  What if non-homeschoolers think we're slackers?  What if seasoned homeschoolers think I'm crazy for having a "rigid" schedule?  But you know what?  It's ok.  This schedule was developed for my family after much study, planning and prayer.  And I'm not afraid to admit that if and when (and I really mean when) it doesn't work, I'll change it again.  Therein lies the beauty.
Just a couple of quick facts before we go.  You'll notice that we have a modified schedule on Tuesday.  The kids take part in a homeschool gymnastics class on Tuesdays at 1:30 which they absolutely LOVE.  This allows us to accommodate the travel time to the gym.  They also take tumbling on Wednesday afternoons and Jewell has dance and gymnastics on Thursdays.  They both play AYSO soccer in the fall and spring, and both are on the local swim team during the summer.  (Go Tallassee Tiger Sharks!)  So we are definitely getting in our P.E.!
Also - you will notice we have two Friday schedules.  We participate in a co-op on the first and third Fridays, so I was hesitant to schedule "classes" on the second and fourth Fridays.  Instead we have claimed these as "Field Trip Fridays".  So far we have visited the Alabama Cattleman's Mooseum which you can read about here.  We also had a way fun time at the Hyundai plant.  (Which we lovingly refer to as the Mothership, since we drive a Veracruz!) 
 
Upcoming trips include the Coca-Cola bottling plant and the Blue Bell factory.  (I know!  Amazing, huh?)  And one more.  Let's see, where was it?  Oh yeah... Washington. D.C.!
So that's it!  That's how we roll!  Well - gotta run.  It's 7:55 and the bell's about to ring.  However you choose to school today, I hope you and yours have a great day!
 
 
 
 

 
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