Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Visit to Quecreek Mine

On July 28, 2002, 9 miners were lifted out of the earth where they were trapped for 77 hours. It is an incredible story of how they all made it out alive.

On our way to Pittsburgh to visit my mom, we stopped at the Quecreek Mine rescue site in Somerset, Pa for a few moments.

If you have the opportunity to study this story, I encourage you to research it and share it with your children. It is a story of how these men came together and survived. It is also a story about the sanctity of life. There are a few books written and the book I appreciate the most is Our Story: 77 Hours That Tested Our Friendship and Our Faith as told to Jeff Goodell (see link below). I will warn you that there is some swearing in the book because it is a book of first-hand accounts of what happened.

This goes along with our study of the coal industry, the history of coal mining, and the science of coal. In the next couple of days, I plan to create a post of the resources I have found on this topic.

For now, here are some pictures from our visit.

This is the actual shaft that the miners were brought back to the surface through.

The shuttle.

The inscription on the book reads:
"They who work the mines
And they who read great books
Are but one, their name is human...
By the labor of their hands,
through the exercise of their minds
And in the strength of their spirit,
They will prevail."
7 May 2002

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Quilting Handicrafts

I first fell in love with quilting when I was pregnant with my first. I had borrowed some Quilt in a Day videos from the library and was hooked. As with any other skill, I made some mistakes in the beginning, but quickly learned that anything worthwhile doesn't include shortcuts. So even with the Quilt in a Day, it takes me several so that I am sure to do it right. This particular quilt requires 4 different square patterns and I want the quilt to be large enough to cover my king-sized bed when it's finished.

Recently, I have been itching to make a quilt. I had this project in a drawer that I started about 5 years ago, but didn't get past the first stages. I was thrilled to find out that through both of our recent moves, the quilt pieces still lay in a bag in a bottom drawer of an old dresser. It was like finding an old friend.

So I picked up right where I left off. The beautiful part of it is that DD11 sits in the room with me and knits while I quilt. She often reminds me of the book by Beverly Lewis "Just Like Mama" and I love it, savor it, and pray these days last a long, long time.
I also believe this is what Charlotte Mason meant by "masterly inactivity". It's a time during the day that is not structured, but something worthwhile is going on.

Once all the squares are done and put together, I will begin hand quilting the entire project. Yes, it takes a long time, but there is something theraputic about stitching each quilt. It's a time to reflect and a time to pray and a time to be still and know He is God. All the while, we are making useful things - handicrafts - that will become a part of our home.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What Grade Are You In?

My youngest is now 6. I guess that means he's not in Kindergarten any more. He's had it in his mind that he has been in 1st grade since about April.

My oldest is 13. I guess that means she's entering 8th grade.

My "middlest" is nearly 12 and that would mean she is entering 7th grade.

All along, grade level really meant nothing to me. Once the children reached a certain age, people began to ask them, "What grade are you in?" At first the girls would give me a bewildered look. I would then have to calculate on my fingers - "Okay, subtract 5 from their age and that gives you grade level. 7 minus 5 is 2. So I guess that means you're in Second Grade."

Does it matter? Really? When registering for VBS (or any of the other multitude of activities we register for), why can't they go by age?

At various times we would have a scenario like this - 9 year old in Math-U-See Gamma level (What's Gamma????? It's the third book so is that 3rd grade?????), while completing Language Lessons for Intermediate grades, while reading Ivanhoe (unabridged). So just looking at curriculum, what grade would that be?

Again I ask, does it matter? Really?

High school is a whole different ball game and the grade level needs to be more defined. At that point we are creating transcripts that will be necessary for post-secondary education and/or employment*. So that starts at about age 14. In the meantime, according to Pa homeschool law, grade level is determined by the home educating parent. If it doesn't matter to the parent, then what?

*I am not saying here that the law requires transcripts. However, I do highly recommend creating transcripts for your child during the high school years for reasons I mentioned in this post.