Thursday, 30 September 2010

Letters from School

Alisdair enjoys writing letters. I mailed two that he wrote yesterday.

The first one was to "Audience Relations" at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In his letter he thanked the CBC for airing the program "Queen Elizabeth in 3D" that was shown the night of Alisdair's birthday.

In his letter, he said:

"It was a great show.... It was FUN to watch! My Granny and Grandpa, my Mum and my little sister, and of course me, all watched the show together. I would like to see more 3D programming in the future!

I especially enjoyed the show as my Dad was born in Scotland so I am a subject of the United Kingdom. I also found it fascinating because of the way the horses came closer to the viewer. It did seem like stuff came right out of the television screen! I found it cool that I didn't need a fancy 3D television set (or an HD television) to watch 3D! I also learnt that 3D wasn't as new as I thought it was, after seeing the man with the ball in black and white, telling about 3D. This show made my 11th birthday one to remember."

Of course we made sure to affix a stamp, that featured a photograph of the Queen herself, to that envelope!

The other letter was to the Hon. Don McMorris, Minister of Health for Saskatchewan. He asked McMorris:

"Why, when I went to go get my eyes examined, it was covered by Saskatchewan Health but when I need to go to the dentist, my Mum has to pay? I asked my Mum this question and she didn't have an answer. She suggested that I should write to you. Are my eyes more important than my teeth? .... I hope you can shed some light on this issue."

We'll be watching our mailbox to see if he gets a response to either of his letters. Wonder who he'll write to next? Maybe his Granny!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Walking the Walk...

I was asked to write a summary of the Pro-Life walk for "Choose Life News" and for the local North Battleford newspaper, so I thought I'd post the article here, as it gives an overview of what we did last Saturday morning.


If you were on 100th Street at about 10 o'clock on Saturday morning, September 25, you would have seen the "Battlefords Right-To-Life" walk in progress.

A police escort began the procession that included a large banner and many people, of all ages, carrying signs and colourful balloons. Approximately 130 people laced up their running shoes and came out to the annual event.

Participants turned onto Railway Avenue at the end of 100th and walked out to the Frontier Mall and then along the service road, eventually arriving at City Cemetery.

At the graveyard the group were met by members of the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus honour guard.

All gathered near the Monument to the Unborn that was erected by the organization, and dedicated and blessed in the Fall of 1991, and a short prayer service was held. Micheal Hudec was the emcee for this portion of the event. The first speaker to the microphone was Father Ron Dechant.

Dechant emphasized how a mother's heart is "hardwired" to that of her children - not unlike the firewall of a computer. He noted how mothers do not forget their children, even if they have given them up for adoption.

Dechant also powerfully stated that the pro-life cause was "not a Catholic issue." He then went on to state that it was also not a "Christian issue" but rather a "societal issue." And that the walkers were not protesting but rather showing how things should be.

Stella Legario, a former nurse at the Battlefords Union Hospital, recounted one personal experience she had on a ward when she was brought "face to face" with the issue on the job site. Legario was asked to assist a doctor, who has now passed away, with an abortion he was performing. Stella was very upset by this, as it went against her conscience and she told the doctor she would be unable to help him, and that she would be leaving the hospital and returning home. Later, she was called back to complete her shift on another ward, as the adminstration was unable to find anyone to replace her on the roster at such short notice. In the days that followed, Legario was assured by a supervisor in charge that she "had done the right thing" standing up for what she believed in.

Father Gerard Legaspi also spoke. He also shared from personal experience about a woman who came to him, pregnant with her third child. The Filipino woman and her husband lived in abject poverty and were unable to adequately supply the needs of another baby. And so Legaspi, who was in the early stages of his religious training, offered to take the child into his own immediate family. This "baby" is now 17 years old and was raised by a sibling and is considered to be Legaspi's parent's "first grandchild."

Jim McLane then led a series of prayer intentions. The service concluded with the scripture song, "Isaiah 49," which was led by Kaylene McQuaid. Patrick Hudec and Stephen McLane accompanied the singing on their guitars.

From the cemetery, the walkers were bussed back the 3.5 miles to St. Joseph's Catholic Church, where a delicious lunch was served and participants visited briefly, before going on about the remainder of their day, knowing they, too, had demonstrated what they believe.

Monday, 27 September 2010

These Boots Were Made for Walking!

Saturday was the annual walk for the "Battlefords Right-To-Life" organization so Alisdair and I decided to go and participate as training for next week's "CIBC Run For the Cure" in Saskatoon.

The route was 3.5 miles total but Alisdair developed a couple nasty blisters so, after walking most of the way, he ended up getting into one of the cars that were following the participants on their trek to the memorial to the unborn at the cemetery.

After the walk, Alisdair and I went to Payless Shoe Source to shop for better footwear as his Dad had given him $40 to put towards new shoes as his birthday present.

We ended up with two pairs as the chain had a "Buy One Get One" half price sale in progress. As you can see, Alisdair is now a well shod "happy camper" and ready to hit the streets for our 5 km walk next Sunday morning!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Family History Revisited

Yesterday we were in North Battleford and Alisdair and I took part in the "Battlefords Right-To-Life" annual walk. The cemetery where they have their monument to the unborn is also the one where Alisdair's Great Grandfather, Colin Henry Ramsay was buried in the Veterans Section. My Grandpa Ramsay died on my 9th birthday (August 12, 1971) while we were living in British Columbia so Mum and Dad attended the funeral while we stayed home with relatives. Grandpa Ramsay was wounded in the arm during World War I and Dad still has the actual bullet the surgeons removed from this injury.

For many many years his grave was unmarked as the family had not made provisions for a marker prior to splitting up the estate. When we learned about the Royal Canadian Legion's "Last Post Fund" we made an application to have a proper stone erected (the Legion provides these free of charge to the family but often there is a bit of a wait for funding to become available), so the organization had this marker put up a few years ago.

After much searching Alisdair and I eventually found the grave, (all the veteran markers are similar -- some with maple leaves at the top, regiment insignias or crosses).

"Lest we forget!"

An Inspirational Quote To Remember

"We can sum up very quickly what people need to teach their own children. First of all, they have to like them, enjoy their company, their physical presence, their energy, foolishness, and passion. They have to enjoy all their questions, and enjoy equally trying to answer those questions. They have to think of their children as friends, indeed very close friends, have to feel happier when near and miss them when they are away. They have to trust them as people, respect their fragile dignity, treat them with courtesy, take them seriously. They have to feel in their own hearts some of their children's wonder, curiousity, and excitement about the world. And they have to have enough confidence in themselves, skepticism about experts, and willingness to be different from most people, to take on themselves the responsibility for their children's learning. But that is about all the parents need. Perhaps only a minority of parents has these qualities. Certainly some have more than others. Many will gain more as they know their children better; most of the people who have been teaching their children at home say that it has made them like them more, not less. In any case, these are not qualities that can be taught or learned in school, or measured with a test, or certified with a piece of paper."

Quoted in "The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child ~ Your Complete Guide to Getting Off to the Right Start" by Linda Dobson on Page 62

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Unintentional Homeschool Lessons

1) The Kraft Dinner won't cook if you don't turn on the burner on the stove.

2) You can't buy a DODGE brand oil filter at the PONTIAC dealership.

3) The procedure to follow for proper installation of a toilet seat.

4) C. S. Lewis was wise to use his initials. We discovered his "real name" was CLIVE STAPLES. Alisdair thinks he was named after the big box business depot store! We also learned that C. S. Lewis died November 22, 1963 -- the same day as President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Aldous Huxley also died that day, so the news of Lewis' passing was overshadowed.

5) The word COINER means a counterfeit money maker in the British dialect. This word is used both in "The Magician's Nephew" and in a book about the Bastables we are reading aloud (the latter was published in 1899 -- a 100 years before Alisdair's birth!)

6) Thanks to Michelangelo, if we travelled to Italy to the Sistene Chapel, we could go to church and look up at the ceiling and see naked people. This was a shocking lesson and one discussed at length with his Granny who responded, "Imagine going to church and looking up at THAT!"

7) More exciting lessons to come...

Friday, 24 September 2010

Conversation Overheard

Lady at church: "How do you like your teacher this year, Alisdair?"

Response: "Oh, I just LOVE Mrs. Porter!"

Couldn't help but giggle... and I am glad he does!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Back Ordered Curriculum Has Arrived!

It's here... so now we can get into full swing!

Switched on Schoolhouse Science (computerized course for Grade 6)
Cursive Handwriting Without Tears - Teacher's Guide and student workbook
Student book - C. S. Lewis Biography for Unit Study (previously received accompanying CD-ROM)

We didn't take long to get the Switched on Schoolhouse disks installed on our home computer but it will take a while to figure out how to use the program. It looks like it will be a good learning tool. And an added bonus -- the computer will grade Alisdair's assignments! Less work for Mum!

Field Trip - September 16 - Lloydminster Heavy Oil Show

At the urging of "Principal John Porter" - oil field worker, the lone student at Porter's Primary had his first "field trip" of the academic year on Thursday, September 16 -- to the Lloydminster Heavy Oil Show.

While on this adventure, Alisdair told me that I was "the Vice-Principal, Teacher, Bus Driver and Cafeteria Lady!"

Here is a brief summary of the experience in his own words:

"The Heavy Oil Show was 'wicked awesome.' I quite enjoyed seeing all the different things that were there -- especially all the "free stuff" they were handing out (notepads, pens, food and lots more -- even a toy football!) There were also big semis (a new Western Star with the hood open) and other immense pieces of heavy equipment.

Here is a photo of one of the men I met at the show! He is wearing orange coveralls! Can you tell which one is my new friend and which one is me?! Too bad we'll have to wait until September 2012 for the next edition of the Lloydminster Heavy Oil Show!"

Unwrapped Contents of Package #1

I realized after I'd posted the last photo that most of the contents were wrapped in brown paper. So I took another shot with everything in view:

Further Up and Higher In (Chronicles of Narnia) language arts
Time Travelers - New World Explorers (Social Studies) CD-ROM
Hands-On-History - Master Artists CD-ROM
Unit Study from YWAM Publishing - Bibliography of C. S. Lewis' life
Building Spelling Skills 6+

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Contents of Parcel!

These are the treasures that were "inside the box!" Will post another photo of the curriculum after it was unwrapped from the brown paper.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

September 8 - Our Curriculum Arrives & School Can Begin!

After daily trips to the post office for more than a week, and no parcel from Canadian Home Education Resources, it FINALLY arrived!

Alisdair was so excited when he discovered the parcel card in the box. He ran into the post office from the lobby, waving the card and shouting, "It's here. It's here. And then, as an afterthought - "It better NOT be my birthday present."

It wasn't!

So we now have our C. S. Lewis material for Unit Study, Further Up & Further In, our Hands-On-History Art CD, our Handwriting Without Tears Printing book and a notebook, a Spelling book, and our Time Travelers "New World Explorers" CD. A few things, like our cursive handwriting books and our Switched on Schoolhouse Science 6 program are still on backorder, but we have enough now, with our Math-U-See and Alpha Omega Bible to kick off our year.

Our motto at Porter's Primary is "Where Learning is FUN!" -- So let the fun begin!