Marching in the Roman Army - Last Co-op of the Year

We had an incredible co-op yesterday!  Thank you so much to the wonderful mom that led us! There was so much to learn as the children made Roman sheilds, learned about Roman armies and practiced Roman formations. 
It was a great day!

First the children made amazing sheilds. They used cardboard, red tagboard, cut outs of designs and plastic bowls and foil. It took alot of glue to make it work and we needed a heavy duty glue gun. We tried to make the size of the cardboard as uniform as possible.
They turned out very well! The children looked like they were in a regular Roman Army!

After making their sheilds the children watched this excellent video on Roman Armies. 
It really brought to life what they were doing. 

After they were finished they took their sheilds and swords (swimming noodles) and we did some formations. This was great. They saw how challenging it was to keep in formation. 
They had a great time afterward when the battle was on!

In the afternoon they were ready to settle down and draw and paint a portrait of a Roman god or goddess. This was a wonderful finish to a great year!

Next year on to the Middle Ages! This week we planned out our topics and who was going to lead... it will be so much fun! We will continue on with the art and drama focus in the afternoons. What a blessing! Thank you to all the Mom’s who gave their time and creative energy to lead our children!!

SEEK out Encouragement

We are in our 16th year of homeschooling. In January 2013 we will start 17 years! We have graduated 3 of our children while homeschooling and we have one left at home who is going into Grade 8. 
It is natural at times to feel a little tired, directionless, worn out and even vulnerable! 

Seek out encouragement. Seek it from your own family - especially your husband and children! It encourages me so much to hear one of my older children say that they would love to homeschool when they have children! Thank you to my husband and children!

Our family has been so fortunate over the years to make several friendships with other homeschooling families. This has been encouragement that goes beyond what I could have ever imagined. This is support for mother to mother, father to father and children to children. This is an amazing blessing and one that is so worth seeking. Thank you to those special families (you know who you are)!

I have been blessed to work with wonderful colleagues who are so encouraging when it comes to learning more about God, service to our communities, education and being a blessing to one another! Heritage Christian Online School is a community of encouragers! Thank you! You can check out our Superintendent's encouraging podcast at The Christian Educator Podcast on iTunes or here

I am blessed to join together with other mom’s once every month for our co-op day. Here we chat (when we are not leading) and support each other in so many ways. We share stories, resources, needs, challenges and so much more. Thank you to all you wonderful moms!

This year I have also done something different - I have signed up for the Ultimate Homeschool Expo. I wanted to get back to my roots in homeschooling and come up with some goals this year that were not based on Pre-Algebra and the Middle Ages. I want to seek higher goals for our homeschool. I thought that the encouragement through this Expo would give me that push to look higher than the subjects and to the heart. To our relationship with God as we educate. I am enjoying these podcasts so much. They are challenging, God-focussed and have given me perspectives that I had forgotten, put on the back shelf or even denied. Some are practical, some philosophical, some challenging and some encouraging! Thank you for all of those who participated in this amazing online event! I have been so encouraged. 

I titled this SEEK out Encouragement because that is exactly what I think we need to do. SEEK it. I personally need others and other’s perspectives to encourage me. For the past 16 years I have enjoyed the encouragement of so many other homeschoolers. I still remember homeschool meetings 15 or 16 years ago and nuggets of encouragement that I gained from others. I continue to seek out encouragement today!
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you”

Our Homeschool Co-op - The Next Installment - On the Roman Road

We had a great day on Monday learning about Rome. The focus was Roman roads and aqueducts. The mom who taught our children is a very gifted teacher! 

She was well prepared with supplies for her to teach the kids about the building of Roman roads, the importance of them, the interesting facts about them and how they influenced Rome’s control, military might and trade routes. 

The children then built their own model of a Roman road! There were all the layers represented and information was given along the way as to what they used to build the roads and how they were built! 

She then had a model of an aqueduct and showed the children how it worked. The got to see how the water ran into the cities. It was very well done!

What really struck me today as the children were released to run off some steam and then have some lunch is how very comfortable they are with each other. Prior to this, many of them didn’t know each other, several of them only see each other at co-op and yet they have become a unit!

In the afternoon was our opportunity to take in another wonderful drama presentation by our Art/Drama mom! This drama was about the Christians being persecuted in Rome. She did a fabulous job once again writing a play for 17 children to participate in! We had a few families that couldn’t make it this time so several of the children played more than one part. 
We had Roman politicians, Roman citizens, Christians, soldiers, even a lion!

You could certainly tell as they were practicing that Spring is in the air! There was lots of acting going on, lots of energy and lots of laughter! It was music to my ears!

Thank you once again to all the mom’s that participate in making this co-op such a great opportunity for learning!

Why I use Twitter and TweetDeck!

I was at the Associated Christian Schools International Conference recently where a very wise man (@paulkellybc) said that he had more professional development through Twitter during his year than any other source. I began thinking about that! 
Well, I came home and began looking at more hashtags. If you are not sure what hashtags are, they are groups of people that collaborate around a topic by use of the # sign and their topic name. I was already following several hashtags but they were not organized very well. I will give you a complete list of the hashtags I follow at the end of this post.
What I really love about twitter is that it is current. There are posts that people are making now, today, this moment. It could be an old article or even an oldie goldie site but when it is tweeted it has a renewed interest - a new life so to speak! 
A wonderful thing about hashtags is the collaboration between people from all over the world who want to share. Oh, yes of course there are some who have an “angle” but there are many, many others who are just wanting to share!

To organize my hashtags I use TweetDeck. I find this the easiest way to browse through any hashtag in a sequential manner. Your "deck" can be organized to your liking - it has pages and you can organize those pages. 
Using hashtags on Twitter means that there will be lots of skimming on your part. I trust that I will be led to those articles or resources that are right for me, the rest I joyfully let go of!

TweetDeck allows me to skim, see topics readily and then go to the article or website quickly and easily. 
Some weeks I only skim one column, some weeks many and some weeks I skim over them all! 
I encourage you to enjoy some professional development on Twitter! Oh, my Twitter address is @rnsing 

Hashtags I follow:
#edtech, #edchat, #elemchat, #engchat, #hiphomeschool, #homeEd, #homeschool, #hsbloggers, #k12media, #lessonplans, #literature, #midleved, #arted, #classicaled, #arteducation, #charlottemason, #hsttd, #onlinelearning, #elearning, #mlearning, #unschool, #sonlight, #hsmommas, #hsmamas, #lapbooks