Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fighting For the Freedom

I decided I need to practice writing songs with what I have learned so far to cement it even further. This song idea came as I have been pondering who my audience will be, and what it is I have to say. I believe I need to write to the youth to buoy them up in these difficult days so they can choose the right though it may be hard, and to be leaders in truth righteousness, and virtue.
Here are the notes I took as I pondered where this song should go.
a) freedom to choose who we want to be
b) freedom to choose our own values and then to stick to it without worry about others opinions
c) we do not have to live any one else's values other than the ones we come up with through our relationship with Christ.
d) if we feel it is right then we don't have to answer to anyone else's opinions

The things I used within the song that I learned from my book are having two words within the title that start with the same letter, I used the verse/chorus format, the title is in the first line of the chorus, the reason for the song is evident from the beginning, and the song leads up to the end. I had written it one way, and then had to do some changing after I read about not making the rhymes so obvious to keep the listener engaged in the meaning and not on the rhymes. I have a lot more learning to do, and this lyric only employs some of what I have learned so far. It felt good to write, and to know something about what I was doing.

Fighting For The Freedom

I feel the desire to do what's right
Though those around me tell me I am wrong
I feel so immersed in this daily fight
for the freedom that only comes from the Lord
I'll lead down the hard road, and not blindly follow along

I'm fighting for the freedom to be me
Stepping out with courage to choose for myself
Don't tell me who I should or shouldn't be
I'm heeding the things my Savior has taught
And that is all the direction that I need

I've been reading the Word, and praying to my Father
He knows me so much better than I know myself
He shows me things I could be doing better
And because I want to grow within his love
I do my best while relying on his help

I'm fighting for the freedom to be me
Stepping out with courage to choose for myself
Don't tell me who I should or shouldn't be
I'm heeding the things my Savior has taught
And that is all the direction that I need

I'm not perfect but my sins have been forgiven
I can't do it on my own except by grace
I love him so I'll do what I believe in
I'll learn about and do the things he's said
So he'll know me on that day I see his face.

I'm fighting for the freedom to be me
Stepping out with courage to choose for myself
Don't tell me who I should or shouldn't be
I'm heeding the things my Savior has taught
And that is all the direction that I need

Our Family Schedule

5 am I shower
Start Laundry
Make the Bed
Scripture Study
Walk Around the Block

7 am get the boys up
Breakfast (song, prayer, memorization, talk about what I am learning in the scriptures,
classics, and current news.)
After Meal Chores ( Each person has two chores like wash table, put food away, etc.)
Play till 8:30

8:30 15 minute pickup
15 minute bedroom pickup

9am I read aloud from current classic
School Closet Opens
Open ended activities and personal interest study ensues

12pm Cleanup
Lunch / Greek Practice
After Meal Chores
My Study Time (kids quiet activities inside and loud activities outside.)

4pm I type my Daily Essay

5pm Laundry Party
15 Minute Pickup (boys pickup while I vacuum)
Start Dinner

6:30 Dinner (discussion on character, what's being learned, etc. )
After Meal Chores

7pm Baths
Scriptures and Prayer
Youngest in Bed

8pm Oldest Kids Can Read
I sweep and mop while listening to a book on CD or forum talk
Mom ready for bed

9pm Lights Out


I have practice the piano for 1-3 hours each day this week. I have gone 19 pages farther than my piano teacher told me to, and have even jazzed up one of the songs that was already fun to play. If I had a microphone I would record the before and after to show the difference. I added treble clef chords and syncopation. When I get to my 100 mile exercise mark I will have earned a microphone and can do things like that. I am at 52 miles right now with every 15 minutes of exercise adding another mile.
Today my 11 year old boy asked if he could go to the mountain behind our house and survive for the day on the plants that he finds. He knows about dandelion greens, but other than that he hasn't learned much. I gave him our edible and medicinal plants book, and told him he could go looking for the plants but to bring them home or just identify what is up there instead of eating them on his own. It turns out now that all of the boys except my youngest are going to the hills with my brother to play capture the flag, cook lunch over a fire, and look at plants. I wondered about this excursion and if it could be considered school time or not. I am unclear if we need to be in the same room for the morning hours and then go do outside activities, or if outside activities should be included in that precious learning time that has been set aside.
I have been reading the Home Companion to A Thomas Jefferson Companion. Some of the things I am reading are not exactly like what I have read before in other TJEd books. I realize that each family takes the principles and applies them in their own way. The lady in this book does her family reading at 8 pm and continues for 2 hours. My family does baths at 7 then scripture reading, and prayer followed by bed time at 8. I want my kids to get plenty of rest so they can be refreshed by 7 am when they got up. This lady is also very structured in her household skill teaching. She has checklists of things that must be learned before the kids become adults, and then has the kids enroll in her 'classes' to learn these skills. Perhaps that is a better way to teach the skills than the way I do it. I have each kid do a certain chore until they are adept at it, and then move on to another one. For example, Ben has been taking out the garbage and dusting for a few months and has now graduated to making breakfast and unloading the dishwasher. His younger brother has taken over his garbage duties. Maybe the way I do it is not as inspiring as the child choosing to do certain life skills because they know that those skills will be needed when they are adults, and they get a party when they have mastered the skills. I will look more into some of her suggestions and see if they will be a fit for our family. I am notorious for changing the way we do things to something that might be better. My older kids have begged me to just keep it the same. What we are doing is working, so I will study this other way and then present it to the kids and see what they think.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Sabbath

Because of my study on keeping the sabbath day holy I was excited for this Sunday. I had a plan to fast to know better what my mission in life is, and to go to church and participate with my whole soul. I was going to go to choir practice because a few weeks ago in Sunday School the lesson was on the Law of Consecration and I had decided that I would give of my musical talents whenever possible. After Choir I was going to go home and take a short nap that would rejuvenate me, and then study the gospel the rest of the evening. It sounded so wonderful that I guess it was too idyllic. My day did start out well because I got up early and got ready before I woke the kids up. Then I was able to help them get ready without the stresses that Sunday morning can sometimes bring. My meetings were just what I needed, filling my spiritual reservoir with a feeling of unity with my ward family to get me through the next week. My husband does not attend church with me so I can get feeling lonesome for people who believe the same as I. The truths that I heard did speak to my heart ever so more because I had read the lesson in the week before. I now have a testimony of preparing for Sunday school. My 11 year old son also gave a testimony that was so sweet and powerful about praising God for the good things in our lives and knowing that all good comes from Him.
I went to choir and sang some beautiful songs with others who love music. I love music.
My day did not go as planned after that. I got home and found my husband and boys in the backyard with a fire and dutch oven dinner going. They sent me down the street to invite my brother to eat with us, so I went. When I got back I changed my clothes and went out to say hello to my husband, and to see the work he had done on the fire pit. The wind started to blow so I went inside with our youngest boy thinking I could read for a while. Wrong. I was told that dinner would not be complete without brownies, and would I please make two pans? I did so thinking all the while of my Dad who had been on my mind since Relief Society meeting when they were talking about transition and losing important people in our lives. My Dad has not had the best of health and I worry about him.
When dinner was brought in everyone but myself and my youngest boy Josiah, went outside to
eat. Josiah was crying because he wanted to go outside too but I couldn't let him because it was cold outside. I suggested that I could turn the t.v. on for him as a consolation and that fixed it. Our television is rarely on, so it was a treat. We ended up turning on Conference that we had recorded which he fell asleep to, as well as those others who came back in from dinner outside. I snuck out when they were sleeping and wrote my Dad an email.
I am here now writing this summary of my day because I want to make a point that occurred to me. I can plan and plan my education down to what books I want to read and when, but it doesn't mean I am not learning if my nose is not buried in a book. I crave my study time, but like last Tuesday when I chose to play with my kids at the river, there are times when bonding and memories take first priority. I am glad I was able to get my brother over to spend the afternoon as I know he gets lonely. I am glad I could bring smiles to my families face with the good taste of chocolate, and I am glad that I could watch a conference talk to help me know my Savior better. I am also glad that I was able to write to my Dad so that he knows he is important and that I cherish him. All in all it has been a great day; just not the day I planned. I studied the Gospel of Jesus Christ by being attentive to my families needs, lifting those who need to be lifted, and forgetting my own wants for the needs of others. I am in no way boasting. I am just grateful that my day ended up this way. It is now quiet so I think I can go get lost in a book now.:)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bens Camera Experiments

Ben has been using his imagination with the camera. Here are a few of his experiments.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Daily Essay

I practiced the piano for several hours today. Slowly the bass clef is unraveling its mysteries to me. I have a CD that I can play along with that takes away the monotony of the repetitive chords. My oldest son told me today that I am obsessed with the piano. I told him and his brothers that practice and study are how you learn and progress. I am glad they are taking notice of the effort I am putting into my education. I am seeing the fruits of my labors as my kids sit with books for hours each day. They each have their areas that they are 'into'. I am enjoying helping them find materials to learn more about their interests.
I also read for quite a while in my Craft of Lyric Writing book. It is a harder book to read than I had first thought it would be. There is a lot of information to assimilate. I am taking notes and trying to picture how I will use each new idea. I also bought the workbook that goes along with the book and I am looking forward to getting into that as well.
I have learned that it is effective to put the title into the songs lyrics at the beginning or even more effectively into each chorus. The title needs to be memorable and can be made that way by things like each word starting with the same letter, or using a day of the week, color, or month. The more memorable the title the better, and the more it can be repeated in the lyrics the better.
A poem and a lyric are different animals. Poems can be round about, use fancy well though out words, and convey a message without ever getting to the point definitely. A lyric needs to get to the point within the first 30 seconds. It needs to be clear from the beginning what it is about, and it needs to build up to something definite with words that clearly convey the message without the listener having to guess.
I am now going over the way songs are put together. There are several different styles, some dating back to the 1700's, and some much more new and modern. I am learning the optimal placement for verses(stanzas), chords, musical interludes, and bridges. I hope that when I put this information to use it will be made more clear to me. I have always used those same componants in songs but there are tried and true ways to use them. I am thinking after today's study that when I am through reading this book, it will be a great source to look to when putting songs together. I am not confident that all of the information is going to stick in my head the first go-round. It is much like reading through a math text. Without the practice, the words and figures on the page make some sense, but the information can't be thoroughly processed until you try it.
My boy Cody and I took turns reading aloud out of his spy novel today. I was impressed with his grown speed and fluency. He has hit the love of reading stage that I have been waiting for for him. Now he can learn anything his heart desires. His big brother Ben does not like his little brother reading so much. It cuts into their playtime together. Ben was diagnosed with a learning disability in that one year of public school that he attended. I have found that he learns just fine if it is hands on. Baking, science experiments, building, working, games, and anything physical are the things that Ben excels at so he can't stand it when his partner-in-crime wants to sit and read when they could be 'doing' something.
Tyler, my 7 year old, is already showing signs that he will be a great scholar. He loves learning to read and is very confident with it. He practices his writing daily and is making marked improvement.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

You are a woman who is admired by all of England for your wit, beauty, and fashion sense. Everywhere you go you are followed by throngs of people admiring you and wanting to talk to you. The things you wear are noted by your fans and copied near and far.
You marry a man also admired and followed. He dresses in styles that become the latest fashion. You married him because he loved you far more than anyone has before except for your brother who raised you as much as you raised him. You do eventually fall in love with him, but it is too late because you have broken his heart by not trusting him with information about your past and he is now very distant with you, attentive to your needs, but emotionally distant.
The French Revolution is in full swing, and you are caught in its folds of treachery and deceit. To save one man is to kill several others. The hero of the English and French, the Scarlett Pimpernel , is daring, brave, and courageous. He saves countless French aristocracy from the horror of the guillotine. His disguise is such that apart from his small league of trusted help, his identity is known to no one. You hold his fate in your hands and that of your brother and your best friends father. The plot thickens from there and you are forced to decide. What will you do?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Keep the Sabbath Day Holy

When we keep the sabbath day holy the blessings are joy, we are kept more fully unspotted from the world, and the fullness of all that the earth can offer can be ours.
In Isaiah 58:13-14 we are told that if we will only honor the father and not do whatever we please, we will ride on the high places of the earth and be fed.
In Mark 2:23-28 we are reminded that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. I think this means that we are blessed with rest, being fed, and happiness by worshipping God on the seventh day of each week. If we have something that has to be done then we are not breaking a commandment. God knows our needs and will not shun us if there is something needful to be done. We should just not seek to do all that we want to do on that day that is set aside for worshipping God. Every day we should come closer to him, but this one day is set aside on purpose for us to gain a relationship with Him.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What I learned today

My educational trail today took me to a piano lesson, and through the second cd in the core and love of learning cd set.
At my piano lesson, my first, I learned that the reason some chords have "7", or "13" written by them is because they are the seventh or 13th note in the scale that is named by that chord and the chord is including that note with the basic notes of that chord.
Another thing I learned is that a melodic interval is notes played in a melody, not at the same time like a chord, in intervals. If a "c" is played, then the "second" interval would be "d", and the third interval would be "e". In a harmonic interval, the notes are played at the same time. The "c" and "d" would be played together to make a harmonic 2nd.
I had not realized that the treble chef circles the "g" line on a staff because it is the "g" clef, and that the bass clef circles the "f" because it is the f clef.
The thing that I began learning that is still stumping me is inversions. The way I understand it so far is that a scale in a certain key will contain all of the notes that can be used in a chord. The first inversion in the c chord would be the c in the next octave and the second inversion would be the e. In the instance of a first inversion the chord would be played with the e on the bottom of the chord, the g next, and then the c on top. I will practice that this week and see next week if I understand it correctly.
It was refreshing to hear someone speaking in music terms. It was like hearing someone speak in a language that I usually only hear in my head, not having anyone near me that speaks the same language. I am happy to have someone to report to and push me.
The thing that interested me most in listening to the Core and Love of Learning CD today was that I am supposed to try and learn for myself during our morning school time. I have been devoting my mornings to activities with the boys, but the cd said to shoot for 3-4 hours of personal study realizing that I will only really get about one hour because the kids will want me to read them a book, or play with them. I guess I need to not try to do activities that whole time, but just have one short thing ready to show them and then let them go from there. We have been playing lots of scrabble and monopoly which have been taking the whole morning and then I try to study in the afternoon after lunch. Yesterday we drove to the lake behind our house so that the boys could play while I studied but it was too nice out and I couldn't let them explore and play in the sunshine without me! We had rock throwing contests, forded a river, and watched an eagle swoop around us over and over screaming(scary really). It got even scarier when my boys were making dying rabbit calls that they are really good at from mimicking my husbands coyote calls. The eagle was close enough to see individual feathers. We left when it perched in a tree next to us. The day before yesterday our monopoly game went for 3 hours and we still were not done but had to quit anyway because we had to go clean a house. So I need to get better at letting the boys do their own thing after I have shown them something I am interested in, and then work on being inspiring the rest of the time. I crave studying but the day goes too quickly. It has helped that my 11 year old son has decided his job should be making breakfast, and my almost 10 year old wants lunches. It was so nice to go about my chores this morning and then sit down to a breakfast of a fruit and yogurt smoothie and eggs, and then to finish sewing scout badges on uniforms and come out to a lunch of leftover enchilada, and cut up carrots arrayed beautifully on the table.
Another thing I read that interested me was that when I take the time every 6 months, finding a quiet place with no distraction, to ponder each person and make a page long brainstorm of what I can do to help them in their personal educational path, I should include myself on the list of people to ponder about. I have been doing the six month purge, giving away or throwing away everything in our home that I do not love or need. I have attempted the six month "no", but have not really found anything yet that I need to be rid of in my life. I am aware of it though, every time I think about the boys joining a new sport, or myself taking on new guitar students, etc. I have not done the 6 month inventory yet. I think it would be very helpful to put my direction for each kid and myself down on paper, getting it out of my muddled brain and making it clearer.
The last thing I will write tonight is that evenings are for inspiration. The best time for family bonding is in the evening, so I need to make sure that as many evenings as possible are at home where we can have meals together, and read, talk, play, and be a family together.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Stormbreakers by Anthony Horowitz

I stayed up late last night to read this book that my 9 year old boy is interested in. We got it from the library for him a couple of weeks ago and we are taking turns reading it and discussing it. This is a great adventure book that included many spy gadgets, and page turning intrigue. This is not a book that teaches any life lessons, at least not to me. Perhaps my son is finding things that will help him in his life's mission and will need to read it over and over. It was more of a one time read for me. It was good enough that I could not put it down though, so it has value in that sense. My boy has enjoyed it a lot and is finding every minute he can to hide somewhere from his brothers that want him to play, so he can keep reading.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Behind Reble Lines

Behind Rebel Lines by Seymour Reit
I ordered and read this book because my son wants to be a spy, and because I am trying to read things that I can talk about with him. The first page of the book told me that I would enjoy this true story.
The book is about a woman named Emma who feels called to help in the civil war. She realizes that she could help in the way the other women are like sewing sew bandages, and writing letters for those who are too sick, but she wants to do more. She calls the voice inside of her that keeps telling her to do dangerous things her "imp" voice. It had been with her all of her life, sometimes daring her to climb tall trees, or ride the fastest horses, and now the "imp" voice is telling her to join the war on the Union side. She was a believer in what the Union side stood for and wanted to help but the only way she could join would be to dress as a man because women were not allowed to be soldiers at this time. Emma dresses as a man, becomes enlisted, and does amazing things for the Union. She goes on spy missions dressed as a black person named Cuff, as a washerwoman, a black woman slave, and a handsome man-about-town. She does well on all of these, and does much to help the Union cause. She was a very brave, smart, and daring woman.
I was surprised at how much information I gleaned from this book. The way that I was schooled inadvertantly taught me how to 'cram' information for tests and then promptly forget everything. The information in Behind Rebel Lines stuck out to me. I recognized names like "Stonewall" Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Ulysses Grant. I had not realized that these names were at the same time period as Abraham Lincoln, or that they were even "real" people. I am anxious to learn more history through classics because the people come alive and make a difference in my education.-Elisa

forum talk titled You Deserve a Great Education

Last night I listened to a talk from the SLC TJEd Forum from Jennifer Jensen titled You Deserve A Great Education. She talked about how to go after an education even when it may seem daunting with a family to take care of also.
Her first suggestion was to schedule study for the week rather than for each day. There may be days that are crazy, and you can not get much done. Then there will be days that time is more available for study.
Her second suggestion was to be flexible. With a family it will be rare that any day will be the same. If you expect to have a certain amount of study time on certain days with a certain goal in mind, chances are it will not work out. Families do not run like a machine. There needs to be flexibility. Do what you can when you can.
The third suggestion is to be faithful. Do what you can and remember the things that you do get done. If you keep trying you will succeed. It helps to write a couple of pages on each book you read so that you can see the progress. You can look back in your notebook and remember that you have read a good amount of books, and have gotten somewhere.
She said that if you can not take a class to keep you motivated in your education, then find a mentor who can keep you going and making goals, and get you discussing the things you have read.
There is a cycle of life that she explained. The cycle had 6 points on it, the first being excitement. This point on the cycle is where you are anxious to learn, and are sure you have what it takes to do well. The second place on the cycle is reality. You realize that the work involved is hard, and that it takes lots of time and effort. The third is questioning your decision. Can I really do this? What made me think I could study more than 10 minutes a day? The fourth point is dissatisfaction. This is where many people give up. They feel they just can't keep up with the heavy work load any more. The fifth point is making small goals. You do the least required, and go at a slower pace to make it doable. The sixth point is production. The small goals you were making before are easier, and you are able to do more, so you pick up the pace and do well.
I will watch for this cycle as I strive to become educated. Knowing that there is a cycle will make me feel better if I get to that point of wanting to give up. I am at the beginning of the cycle. I am excited to be learning. We will see how it goes.