Cup board. *C-U-P-B-O-A-R-D* I will never look at the wall of a kitchen without hearing my father’s voice reciting “cup — board — cup — board”. It was tradition in our home to practice spelling words at the dinner table. As a homeschooling family, once the official word list was exhausted, my dad would select whatever term he felt had the best chance of stumping us. Cupboard was one of his more successful offerings.
Here’s a round-up of some fun and easy activities you can do with your family during Easter week. Enjoy!
Resurrection Rolls – a fun food demonstration with disappearing marshmallows!
Fingerprint Eggs – if you are sick of dyeing eggs, try painting instead!
Resurrection Eggs – a great way to teach your children the story of Easter, and enable them to share it with others!
Hot Cross Buns – delicious fluffy rolls perfect for little hands to help making!
I recently traveled to Chicago to enhance my copiousness. Yes, that was a stated purpose of the training I received there. To grow my mind and experience an abundance of historical thinking. I love the saying “If you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”, and try to model my relationships after that premise. I’m happiest when surrounded by those who enrich my thoughts and encourage me to develop big ideas. Never was this more true than during my time at CC’s Practicum Speaker Trainer Training. That’s training for those who will be training practicum speakers. A room full of CC folks with a passion for classical education, equipping others and public speaking. It was like returning to the mother ship. These were my people all the way down to our very core.
Intentionally, I scheduled my homeward flight for late in the evening, so I could traipse around Chicago for a day. My primary goal was to see The Art Institute of Chicago’s Impressionism wing. Specifically their room full of Monet. It just so happened my trip coincided with Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the dyeing of the river green. Not a deep natural forest green, but a bright psychedelic emerald. The garish color was mimicked all around me in thousands of people enjoying the celebratory mood of the day. They started partying around noon by 5pm had reached a fever pitch even my Uber driver was anxious to escape as he happily left the city to deposit my un-drunk self at the airport. Apparently I was the only sober fare he had all day.
I’d rambled around the museum for almost two hours enjoying Greek, Roman, Modern and Ancient Indian art, but longing for Impressionists when I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye. Just the very edge of a painting hugging a corner two rooms away. I knew instantly it was Monet and proceeded to avoid group tours and step around slow-moving elderly in my haste to see the full painting.
As I stepped into the room, I was overcome with awe. A dozen masterpieces by the great French impressionist encircled me. There to be savored. As I moved around the perimeter, I looked at each painting twice. Once as close as I could muster (without a docent scolding me anyway) to see the smallest detail, then a few steps back to observe the painting in toto. As I repeated this process, my awe gave way to an emotion not easily described, but one which created in my soul a desire to sit and weep.
I am not a crier. Not at movies, Mother’s Day, loss, happiness, not for much of anything do I shed tears. As such, this overwhelming flood of sentiment disquieted me enough that I found a nearby bench and sat struggling to compose myself while gazing at Monet’s Water Lilies.
I lost my battle to hold back tears as I identified the root of my emotion. My eyes were suddenly opened to a little of God’s perspective. As I muddle through life, moving from the mundane of laundry, to the routine of homeschooling, groceries and dishes, I tend to become tunnel visioned. My world seems incredibly small most of the time. I’m just trying to get through the next task, whatever is the most pressing concern or need of those around me. Often, I can’t think past Tuesday to make plans for Friday. As my focus narrows, life becomes a Monet up close. It feels pointless, just a swirl of nothing layered over more meaningless smudges. Life going around again and again in a jumble of details, relationships and tasks, with no value, no broader purpose.
This is where I really lost it and became supremely grateful nobody from training was able to trek to the city with me. Although we get lost in the minutiae of daily life, that is not God’s perspective. In the midst of seeming chaos, of colors that appear misplaced, relationships that look a mess, unrest and disquiet in our souls, He sees the completed master work. Not a brush stroke is wasted or errant. Our lives are His to develop through dusk and light, vibrant color and shadow. Our Lord builds layers that bring out the perfect balanced harmony of the work He is faithful to complete in us. In this life, we see a smidge of nothingness, the tiniest sliver of the finished masterpiece. As the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.“
As I managed to (finally) get a grip and head out of the room, I glanced back at the painting that first caught my attention and had another realization. If our lives encompass God’s creative genius, shouldn’t they shout His unmistakable composition in the same way Monet’s color and form drew me in from two rooms away? As Christians, our lives should be a demonstration of who the Lord is. His truth, grace, love, patience and gentleness should flow from the canvas of our soul. The mural of our being should be a reflection of The Great Artist who created us. Imperfect and flawed, we are a fallen jumble of brushstrokes when viewed up close, but a stunning expression of the Master’s hand with the proper perspective. His. Monet gave me a glimpse of that viewpoint, and I am eternally thankful.
I’ve been dreading this moment since I first glanced at the lineup of Great Composers for Cycle 1. Handel’s Water Music was no problem, the soothing woodwinds are essentially easy listening, smooth jazz for the 1700’s. Next week I have the privilege of introducing Mozart, the crazy haired, youthful genius of the Classical Period. Who, incidentally is one of my absolute favorite composers. I could listen to his delightful, deceptively simple sounding piano concerto #22 on repeat for hours. However (insert dark foreboding theme music here), this week we are discussing Bach. Fugues and Preludes. Harpsichord Bach. I am not a fan. I know Bach is “the man”. Prolific as a composer and a father (20 kids!). Hard working and methodical in his ability to have every note in exactly the right place. He’s considered a scientist of music. My local classical radio station devotes the noon(ish) hour to him in a segment called “Bach’s Lunch”. That’s my kind of humor, but still…harpsichord? Ugh. It’s just awful.
My ZAP! board has been lurking in my classroom closet most of our CC year and this week it makes its grand debut in my Masters/Journeymen class of 3rd-5th graders. This game holds the edge-of-your-seat suspense of not knowing whether you’ll be rewarded or punished each turn. You may inflict the agony of losing points on the opposing team, or (GASP!) lose your points instead! Who knows? The uncertainty is thrilling!
To celebrate all things mathematically round, why not bake up some delicious pies to pay homage to the great calculation that is pi. March 14th is pi (3.14) day! Head over to Bakerlady to see a round up of my favorite recipes on this festive day! They include a delicious dinner Chicken Pot Pie, some berry pies, banana cream pie and even an Oreo ice cream pie! You are sure to find something everyone will enjoy! Happy Pi Day!
It’s that time of year again! Time for Classical Conversations six weeks studying orchestra and great composers. This year, we’re tackling the Baroque to Classical periods studying Handel, Bach and Mozart. I’ve said it before, but as a classical music junkie, this is one of my favorite parts of the program. I think an appreciation of great scores and understanding the intricacies of classical music is sadly lacking in our society. There is such a wide range of styles in classical music – thousands upon thousands of fantastic melodies, harmonies and rhythms – if you give it a chance, I’m positive you’ll find something you love. Today, we’re talking about partying like a rock star king, cruising down the river, with your own trailing dj boat.
My daughter enjoyed an American Girl Tea Party Birthday this year. For the full details on the party, you can visit Bakerlady for amazing ideas and printables.
One of the most entertaining portions of the party included 12 girls making these tutus together for their dolls. Here’s a step by step guide to recreating adorable and easy-peasy tutus for any 18-inch doll. No sewing required!
In my ever continuing mission to make math practice enjoyable for my kids (or at least not torturous), I put together this little game based off one I saw in a Scholastic card game math book. You’ll need a deck of cards (jokers and faces removed) and printed copy of the game board for each person playing.
This Card Countdown Game provides practice subtracting in a fun and (if you want) competitive/speedy manner. The goal is to subtract down from 100 using a deck of cards to determine the next number you’ll be taking away from your previous total. Printable game boards and instructions at the bottom of this post, the image below is just so you can see what I’m talking about.
My daughter and I played a few rounds today as some additional math practice, and had a grand old time. Way more fun than flashcards and still provided the opportunity for speedy mental math. Also, when everyone gets to zero, you swap boards and “correct” the work by adding up from the bottom. I don’t know about you, but I love anything that shows my kids the correlation between addition/subtraction and checking your work by doing the opposite function.
I slipped the game boards into a sheet protector, and used dry erase markers to keep track, but you can just print and pencil if that floats your boat. Enjoy! Happy Math-ing!
Hello to everyone visiting in search of Classical Conversations copywork for Cycle 1. All of my copywork pages will be posted to CC Connected (C3) under the username “Wenderbell”.
Currently I’ve received requests for:
*Full page History copywork with blank top half for coloring
*Full page Geography copywork with map
*Two page weekly review copywork with all subjects but Timeline, including a map
Weeks 1-12 History and Geography copywork have been posted to C3 already and by the end of the day I’ll have up the weekly review sheets for weeks 1-12. The second semester will be posted by the end of August.
As we get closer to the end of the CC year, I’ll have my listening maps and orchestra pages done for this cycle as well.
If you have any questions, or specific requests, feel free to shoot me a message through the blog! I’m so happy to hear that these review/copywork pages were helpful to you all last year!