Clara Barton Museum ~ Mega Field Trip 2018

mega field trip - clara barton museum

We heard that there was a museum about Clara Barton in Washington, D.C. We have studied Clara Barton before and so when we heard about it, we knew we had to visit. At Home Dad and Miss E headed off to the Holocaust Museum and we hiked up the hill from where we had parked. The Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum was really neat and one I highly recommend.

There is a short film (under 15 minutes) that introduces Clara Barton, her work, and how the building that the museum is housed in was found.

clara barton museum entrance

The story of the building – a man who was working for the government was checking it out, trying to figure out what needed to be done to get it torn down. While on the upper floors, he noticed something strange poking out from the attic. He grabbed a ladder, got the paper and took a look, as it was clearly old. It turned out to be the first of over a thousand artifacts from the Civil War era. One of the artifacts gave away what the building had been – the offices Clara Barton and her Missing Soldier’s Office. There was no way they could tear the building down now!

And that started the work of preserving and restoring parts of the building. The third floor was restored to what it would have looked like at the time of Ms. Barton’s use of the building. There are even pieces of wall paper that they were able to locate and then replicate so the wallpaper is appropriate.

The upper floor is set up somewhat like it might have been at the time of Ms. Barton. There are documents preserved to be read, along with information describing the work she did. She spent so many years helping others from this building. There are places where you can see the original wall papers. There are photographs and original papers. There are some examples of things like socks that were precious commodities during war time.

Clara Barton is an interesting and important figure in American history so it was special to be able to visit the Missing Soldiers Office, take a look at the large pages of names that she worked from and read letters from people seeking her assistance. To know that where we were standing had made a difference in so many lives was incredible.

It is a fascinating place to visit and I am so glad we were able to visit. They operate on donations and on purchases made from their store. I was disappointed that they only had a few biographies on Ms. Barton, several of which did not look engaging for me or the girls, though they did have the biography that we studied from YWAM. I did make a purchase of one of my favorite authors and a book I didn’t have – Louisa May Alcott’s Hospital Sketches.

If you have opportunity, I do recommend visiting this museum.

Blessings,
At Home.

Practice Monkeys – Live Violin Classes ~ a Crew review

miss j playing

Music has a way of opening up joy in your life and I eagerly await hearing my girls practice each day. Miss L, age 12, and Miss J, age 9, are both playing the violin and have been working with Practice Monkeys. The Family Subscription to Live Violin Classes is for live, online classes but there are many aspects to the program that make it exceptional. As you read through this, realize that this is a family subscription – one subscription for all students in the family!

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Practice Monkeys fills a niche that I have seen in the home education world but also in the world of music education in general. Not everyone has access to musical education and to find string education is even harder for most people. Practice Monkeys is a series of leveled classes that are taught live, with plenty of recorded videos to help with practice and instruction when a live class has to be missed.

practice monkeys on the computer

There are currently 9 levels of violin on the Practice Monkeys site. If you are not a complete beginner, be sure to connect with Mrs. Van Kleek to set you up in the right level. Each level meets for about 15 minutes, four days a week. The time for each level is different so it is necessary to find your level to know the class time.

These live classes form the core of instruction and without them, learning violin is extremely difficult. Live classes allow for correction and training that just cannot be done with recordings alone. When you attend a live class, Mrs. Van Kleeck can look at your hand position, your bow position, and help you make those necessary corrections. She can also listen to the sound and advise what might need to be done. For example, without the live class participation, Mrs Van Kleeck cannot advise a student when their bow needs more rosin or their finger placement is just a smidge off. Tuning is another place where attending a live, online class will benefit. When the tuning is off as a beginner, you don’t often hear it or recognize it.

These are the benefits that Practice Monkey gives a student. Live teacher input allows for immediate correction and attention to detail that makes the difference between getting frustrated and giving up and making noticeable progress and learning to play.

Along with the live classes, a subscription to Practice Monkeys gets you access to the Treehouse for your placement level. The Treehouse is where you find practice videos, tuning help, instrument help, printable sheets for the skills in your level, parent tips, practice sheets, and videos for the performance pieces required to advance. It is packed full!

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As with all quality instruction, there are times for assessment and a checklist to help the student advance. The Treehouse has a printable checklist for the parent so that they can do a pre-assessment to know when to schedule a live assessment with Mrs. Van Kleeck. The checklist is clear and the expectations are laid out nicely so the student knows exactly what needs to be done. Once the student can go through the checklist with the parent, it is time to schedule that live assessment. In the live assessment, Mrs. Van Kleeck meets one-on-one with the student outside of the regular class time to go through the checklist and determine if the student is ready for the next level.

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Each week, an email of reminders and helpful hints is sent out. This is a great way to not forget to plan your practice time. One of the reminders is to print out the student’s practice sheet for the week. These sheets help with remembering each aspect of the practice time and to also progress in a consistent manner with the classes, skills, and pieces being learned. There are always helpful tidbits in the email, as well as reminders about any schedule changes for holidays and such.

getting ready for an assessment

These Suzuki-based classes are just what the home school community has been looking for. They offer something that is definitely needed and Mrs. Van Kleeck does a fabulous job of teaching her students. As stated earlier, the classes meet four days per week because music students need this much practice. The classes go from absolute beginnner to the end of Suzuki Book IV. There are also now piano classes being offered that at this point go from beginner to the end of Suzuki Book One.

miss l playing

Interested? At this point, lots of questions may be running through your mind. Hop over to the FAQ page for Practice Monkeys and read up on what is there. If you still have questions or concerns, a form is available on that page to send Mrs. Van Kleeck a message. There are also samples of the recorded classes on the page. If the sample is not quite enough, you can request to attend a single class for free to see how it all works.

Do note – these classes are live and online so there are some things you will need to acquire for the class. Obviously, an instrument is needed. Sizing and rental information is available in the FAQ as well as more detailed information on the FAQ page. You will need a paid subscription to Practice Monkeys. You will need a computer with a microphone and camera that work, as well as an internet connection. This will get you up and running with Practice Monkeys.

I know I speak positively about a lot of things. I wish I could just continue gushing about this program, though. Truly, I think it is wonderful and such a needed program. I highly encourage anyone looking for string instruction, or piano instruction (though I have not seen this part of the program), to check out Practice Monkeys.

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There is currently a special going on for readers of this blog and the Homeschool Review Crew. A special price is available for those who sign-up to become part of the Practice Monkeys community before February 1, 2019. The special price will be yours for the lifetime of your subscription. Visit the special page to read more and sign up.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

There were several other Homeschool Review Crew families who also reviewed Practice Monkeys. Be sure to click on the image below to read their reviews.

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How Firm A Foundation ~ hymn

how firm a foundation

One thing everyone know about a building is that it must have a strong, steady, firm foundation. Without a firm foundation, the building will not withstand the test of time. That test may come through just the weathering of the elements or it might come from a single mighty hit that it takes. No matter how it comes, without a firm foundation, the building has no change of withstanding the hit.

The same is true of you and me, my friend. My foundation must be firm. Without a foundation that is firmly rooted in the God of the Universe, I don’t have a chance of withstanding the weathering that will occur throughout daily life, let alone the big hits that will come at some time.

This hymn discusses where a firm foundation in God comes from. The first stanza tells us that a firm foundation is laid for my faith (MY faith, y’all – it is put there for me specifically) in the excellent Word of God. Take a second and think about that. God’s Word was given to provide for your faith and mine. It is not an accident. It is not a simple book of stories. It is a rooting for me, a firm foundation, and it is from God! He Put It There For Me!

The second stanza is God speaking to me and you. He is telling us to not be afraid, he is with us. God provides for His people and in the Bible, we read about that over and over. We see the omnipotent hand of God through his many mighty works and through the everyday peace that comes into the lives of those in Him.

The third stanza is another reminder that God is ever watching, ever caring, ever protecting. He does not forsake us. Do we forsake Him? Do we walk away at times? Or maybe not even that intentional but just not think about Him for a while?

This reminds me so much of the works the girls have been doing in their Lads to Leaders activities and events. They are working on themes from Exodus and this is exactly what it is about. Lads to Leaders is designed to help students have a firm foundation in Christ and the word of God while becoming the leaders of His church on this earth. Exodus reminds us over and over of the fact that God is always there, even when we are not choosing to see or hear Him. He leads us when we allow Him to. His protection is evident when we look for it.

This is a lovely hymn that is just packed full of reminders of who God is and what He provides for us.

You can listen to this hymn being sung at Great Songs Chapel.
It is also available on In Search of the Lord’s Way. This link should take you to the H listings and you just click on the play arrow to the left of the title How Firm a Foundation.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

How Firm A Foundation

lyrics: Rippon Selection of Hymns (1787)
music: Funks Genuine Church Music (1832)

1 – How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He has said,
You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

2 – “Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed;
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.”

3 – “The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose;
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, tho all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”

Cultivating An Attitude

cultivating an attitude

So often we talk of cultivating a garden. Have you ever intentionally and with purpose cultivated an attitude? I am working on a plan for this year that will cultivate an attitude of appreciation. Or gratitude. Or gratefulness.

I chose the word cultivate because I want to be intentional about this. I don’t want it to be haphazard. I don’t want it to be something I think about once in a while. I want it to be something I try hard to do each day. Cultivate implies that you are conscientious about what is being done and working hard at it. When you cultivate something, it flourishes, grows, and becomes something that benefits everything around it.

So, I want to cultivate an attitude.

The attitude I want to cultivate is one that can have so many names – gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness. There are probably more. These are the ones that came to mind while I was writing this.

A sermon I was blessed by at the beginning of the year mentioned a 1902 essay by William George Jordan. He wrote “Ingratitude is a crime more despicable than revenge, which is only returning evil for evil, while ingratitude returns evil for good.” This is in an essay titled “The Power of Truth: Individual Problems and Possibilities.” You can find it through The Project Gutenberg.

The first part of my plan is to read this essay fully. I am also going to listen to some podcasts based on this essay. This quote struck me. It is so easy to think that I am not harming anyone when I don’t show appreciation or gratefulness but really, I am discounting what that person has done for me. When I do not intentionally show gratefulness, it is hurtful, even when I don’t intend for it to be so. And when I show gratefulness that someone is not expecting, that blesses the person doubly. Why wouldn’t I want that to be what happens daily?

The next part includes writing out passages from the Bible each day this year. I am starting in the beginning of Psalm for now but I do expect that will change after a bit. I have a goal of six verses a day.

I was blessed by a basket from the blog The Sparrow’s Home. I am going to use the note cards, pens, and pretty basket as a place to keep my materials so that I can write more notes of thanks this year. I have a goal of four a month, or one per week.

The final part of this cultivation, for now, is that I am going to be praying specific prayers of thanks. I am going to find something in particular each day for the purpose of giving thanks.

My hope is that I will see more of the good in everything. I also hope it will rub off some on those around me. But really, I hope it changes my heart in ways I cannot imagine.

So this is my “word” for the year. I am cultivating an attitude of gratitude.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

Linking up with the Homeschool Review Crew and their Word for the Year Ahead link-up.

A New Creature ~ hymn

a new creature buried with christ

As we start the new year, this one just kind of stuck out to me as I got ready for this post. Take a look at the words – I’ll put them up here this time.

Buried with Christ my blessed Redeemer.
Dead to the old life of folly and sin.
Satan may call, the world may entreat me.
There is no voice that answers within.

Dead unto sin, alive thru the Spirit.
Risen with Him from the gloom of the grave.
All things are new and I am rejoicing
In His great love, his power to save.

Sin hath no more its cruel dominion.
Walking “in newness of life” I am free.
Glorious life of Christ my Redeemer
Which He so richly shareth with me.

Refrain:
Dead to the world to voices that call me.
Living anew, obedient but free.
Dead to the joys that once did enthrall me.
Yet ’tis not I, Christ liveth in me.

Think about what this is talking about. Freedom. A life that is full of hope and joy. One that no longer pull us down but lifts us up. 

Christ. In me. And in you.

Christ changes things. When we accept Christ and put Him on in baptism, become one with Him through His blood shed on the cross, we are new. We are no longer what we were. We are clean. We are given a glorious new being, a new creature. 

What a blessing. As your new year begins, I pray that you are in Christ, following His word, and feeling that joy and hope and freedom of being a new creature in this new year.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Want to hear this song sung? Here are a couple of links for you.

You Tube –

 

In Search of the Lord’s Way – Click on the link and then on the arrow next to the title of the song. It is listed on this site as Buried With Christ. 

My Family For The War ~ book review

My daughter found this book at our library book sale the other day. In going through her pile and deciding what to purchase, she chose not to get this one. So I picked it up and looked at it. I knew immediately that I would need to read this book so I bought it. 

Warning: I’m putting this here so it doesn’t get missed. There is some language in chapter 3 of this book. It is a scene where the Germans storm a Jewish home in the middle of the night and the language the Germans use is rough. It is only a short amount but there are several strong words used. Additionally, in the first few chapters, there are some scenes where some violence occurs – a group of children beating up another child severely and the Jewish father being beaten when the German invade their home.

Summary: This is the story of young girl, she is 10 at the start of the story in 1939, living in Germany. Franziska Mangold is of Jewish heritage. Her family has been Protestant for over two generations. She knows who she is and doesn’t quite understand why she is suddenly being considered a Jew. The times get rough and she has to endure many things. When she is beaten up, her Jewish friend takes her to his house. While there, she experiences some of the Jewish religious customs that she doesn’t know. Her friend questions her about who she really is but she doesn’t know how to answer.

After her father is arrested, her family struggles. In talking with a Jewish friend, Franziska finds out about the kindertransports that are being arranged by others in Europe to help save the German children. She excitedly tells her mother about that and how her friend will be saved. Her mother then gets her on one of the transports, to her dismay. She ends up in England and living with a Jewish family who takes very good care of her.

The problem is that she is now experiencing very deep dismay and confusion about who she is and how she should be living. She begins to question her beliefs, her understanding, and who she is at the very core. She comes to care deeply for the family she is living with yet still aching for her own family. She is torn and feels like she is betraying those she loves. Then she is ripped from that family and sent to live with yet another that is farther inland. That is yet another difficulty. Eventually she is able to be reunited with the original Jewish family from London. The war goes on and she stays with them for the remainder of the war. All in all, she is with this family for 8 years, almost half her life. She loves them and feels strongly attached. When the war ends, she has more struggles ahead of her to figure out who her family is and where she belongs.

Thoughts:
This is a tragic story that is probably more accurate than I can imagine. This story shows the blessing and tragedy of humanitarian efforts like the kindertransport. Children’s lives are preserved but their beings are ripped and torn with no understanding about where they belong. What difficulty!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and have already recommended it to a number of people. It is probably appropriate for middle school and up, especially for those doing any kind of a WWII study. It is not a true story but I can imagine that it pretty well reflects the growing up and coming-of-age of many children from Germany and other countries so badly affected by the German war movements in the 1930s and 1940s. 

It gives a unique perspective on how the children would have been affected, hurt, and struggled. It is a difficult but wonderful story.

Blessings,
At Home.

Wonderful Grace of Jesus ~ hymn

Grace.

Isn’t it a beautiful word?

It represents something we cannot earn. Something we cannot achieve for ourselves. Something we really cannot even ask for.

It is something freely given.

Grace.

This is what we are given by God. He gives us grace. We feel that grace when we have been forgiven for sins that we should feel shame over. We are covered in that grace when circumstances are bigger and harder than we can handle on our own. That grace overshadows our lives when Satan is prowling around like a lion waiting to devour us yet God is our protection.

Grace.

Something that makes life a joy.

Grace.

That invisible thing that offers us something we don’t deserve.

Grace.

I am thankful that the grace of Jesus reaches all the way down to me from his throne in heaven. That he takes my burdens, my sorrows, my pain, my anger and replaces them with a peace that only comes from being in Him. The freedom that comes with the grace of Jesus is unparalleled and I am so thankful for it.

I am going to try to focus more on grace this year. That grace that God gives. But also in sharing that with others and showing my own grace when anger is my first reaction. Showing grace and sharing grace.

Grace.

Blessings.
At Home.

You can hear this beautiful hymn sung on the site In Search of the Lord’s Way. Just click on the link and head down to the Ws in the list. Click on the play button next to Wonderful Grace of Jesus and listen to the hymn about the grace offered by Jesus.

Wonderful Grace of Jesus

lyrics and music: Haldor Lillenas (1918)

1. Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Greater than all my sin;
How shall my tongue describe it,
Where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden,
Setting my spirit free;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

Refrain:
Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,
All-sufficient grace for even me!
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame;
Oh, magnify the precious Name of Jesus,
Praise His Name!

2. Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaching to all the lost,
By it I have been pardoned,
Saved to the uttermost;
Chains have been torn asunder,
Giving me liberty;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me. (Refrain)

3. Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaching the most defiled,
By its transforming power,
Making him God’s dear child,
Purchasing peace and heaven
For all eternity—
And the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me. (Refrain)

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