Monday, May 21, 2012

A Swarm of Bees

We are still at our "urban homestead", here at my parents' home in the Big City.  Mom has been gone a month and there is still so much to do.

So here is what my youngest son found on my dad's lawn the other night.  It is a swarm of bees, seemingly nesting on the ground.  There were actually two "nests" going, but today they have combined into one "nest".  I googled bees and found that there is indeed a species that nests on the ground.  Whether these are that species or not, hard to say.  The neighbors were being tormented by bees on the streetlight in front of their house, so they called the exterminator.  We believe that these are the bees that came out of that light post.  Of course, my son and I, being bee advocates, want to relocate them.  Dad just wants to get rid of them.  We agreed to see what would happen today, when it warmed up.  Dad was convinced they would leave on their own.  They are still there.  So now I guess it's my turn.  My plan is to dig up the whole nest tonight when they are "asleep" and put it in a bucket with a lid, take it down to the riverbed, which is flanked by several plant nurseries and turn them loose to find a new home for themselves.  I'll report back on how that works out, and hopefully more pics.  Yes, dad, I'll fill in the hole in the lawn...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Making Literature Fun - Review

Ever wish you could get your kids to reach for a book instead of the remote?  Susan Evans' one hour audio workshop, Making Literature Fun, is bursting at the seams with ideas to:

- make literature come alive for your children 

- improve your child's reading level

- quiet your children for reading

Raised in Guatemala, Susan earned her Bachelor's degree in English in the United States, and has taught in public schools here and in London, England, where she was also a middle school Drama director.  In this live recording, Susan describes how to evaluate and choose good books; how to create experiences to help children internalize what they've read; gives examples from her own homeschool experiences with her four children.

Ms. Evans discusses the pros and cons of "watching the movie" versus "reading the book".  She encourages regular reading aloud by both parents and students.  I was reminded to change my tone of voice to indicate different characters in the book I'm reading from, and to remember to read with more dramatic effect.  When I began to do this during our current reading of "War Horse", my 9 year old son suddenly started really listening, and would beg for another chapter.  As suggested, I felt perfectly comfortable making him wait for the next day, and sure enough, his anticipation was peaked and he sat and listened attentively.  A number of books are recommended by name in the course of Susan's presentation.  She supports re-enacting as an enriching supplement to good reading and she shows how to link the great books your children are reading to the other subjects they are studying.

In everything she does, Evans gives praise and glory to her Creator, and emphasizes and encourages a close, personal relationship with God as the foundation to excellent parenting and homeschooling.  I love the relaxed, refreshing style in which she presents her information.  Her voice has a pleasant tone and unhurried cadence.  I came away from the audio with the feeling of having just had an uplifting discussion with a friend, rather than a talking down from a stuffy professional.  I immediately began applying many of her suggestions in my own homeschool, with happy results.

In addition to Making Literature Fun $5.50, Susan Evans has a number of other excellent audio and video products available for download.  All of her products are backed by a 60 day money-back guarantee.  The MP3 files were a snap to download and add to my Ipod.  For less than the price of a Teacher's Manual, you can breathe new life into your homeschool and equip your children with a love of reading for life.  Now go out and make literature fun!

I received a free copy of Making Literature Fun to listen to and post my thoughts.  No other compensation was received for this review.