Monthly Archives: August 2009

Review – Beginning Public Speaking

Beginning Public Speaking Teacher's Guide

Beginning Public Speaking

Written by:  Teressa Moon 

Publisher:  Communicators for Christ


For the past several months I have been teaching a public speaking class to about 13 homeschoolers.  My guide for conducting the class has been Beginning Public Speaking by Teresa Moon, published by Communicators for Christ.  It has been a wonderful resource.

There is a Teacher’s Edition, Student Workpack & DVD which are all available from Communicators for Christ for the price of $99.95.  I did not have the DVD’s but used only the Teacher & Student Book and I think you really could just use the Teacher’s Edition and not purchase anything else.  The individual books can be purchased through Christian Book Distributors.

The books are aimed at ages 8-12 but I adapted it for use for younger and older students as well since we were a more informal group and wanted to include everyone that wished to participate.  It was so cute to watch the little ones get up and practice introductions, impromptu speeches and their delivery skills. 

I acutally split the class up.  The younger class consisted of children up to the age of 11.  While they were giving their speeches the older ones would play a game or go outside.  Then when the younger children finished we had the older class come in (ages 12-up) to give their speeches.


The book is laid out for 9 classes.  The types of speeches covered are:

Impromptu Speaking Introductions

Reading or Recitation of a short story or poem

Expository Speech

Humorous Interpretation



Dramatic/Humorous Interpretation

Persuasive Oratory


The class went in this order:  Discussion, Presentations, Activity & Assignment.  If you have the DVD’s you can even watch a demonstration of the type of speech that you are assigned for next class.  Since I did not have the DVD, I usually just gave the speech myself.

This course was excellent in exposing the children to various types of speeches and teaching them the basics needed in good speech delivery.  I would have really liked to purchase the DVD’s but felt the price was much too high but if you were to get several people to go in on it, it would be doable.  I highly recommend this course.



Filed under Public Speaking

Quick Trip to Boston

I’ve been somewhat distracted from writing lately due to other distractions.  Just this past weekend Russell & I took a quick trip to Boston.  There was a book show that we wanted to check out as a potential source for inventory for our online book business.

Now maybe I can’t say definitively that Boston is not my kind of town since I was only there for about 4 days, but I sure was longing for home.  Give me the wide open spaces, less noise and cleaner air.  The people were quite friendly – friendlier than I think you would find Arizonans but what bothered me the most was the immorality.  Everywhere you looked there were women dressed or should I say undressed to the point of almost being exposed.  I thought things were bad in Arizona but Boston is the worst I’ve ever seen.  The women had no shame. 

We did spend one day walking along the Freedom Trail.

 This is the Granary Burying Ground established in 1660.  The tall obelisk in the middle is where Benjamen Franklin’s parents are buried.  Also buried in this graveyard are James Otis, Samuel Adams, Robert Paine and those who died in the Boston Massacre.


John Hancock’s Grave


Paul Revere’s Grave


See that tiny building at the far end of the street?  That is the Old State House – Boston’s oldest public building.  It was built in 1713 as the seat for the British colonial government.  This is where the Stamp Act and the Writs of Assistance were debated. 


And right here, on the balcony of the same building, the Declaration of Independence was first read to the Bostonians July 18, 1776


I had to take this picture of a father and his two sons riding on unicycles in downtown Boston for our friends in PA. 😉


And finally, Faneuil Hall where our founding fathers met for organized protests against British tyranny, prior to the Revolution.

And that about sums up what we saw of Boston- besides its subways which, by the way,  are the oldest ones in the nation.


Filed under Family Life Updates, Trips

Goat Pen Construction

To do a little catching up on what’s been happening around the farm, here are some pictures of the latest building added.  There are quite a few pictures, so if your browser is slow you’ll have to be patient.

After losing about 5 goats to mountain lion attacks, Russell decided to make them an enclosed building that we could lock them into at night. 

The shelter was built using the leftover wood from our barn.  Russell and the boys felled the trees themselves a few years ago and milled them – thus making their own lumber.  I love this rustic look.


These girls just had to see it up close.  So much more fun.


The enclosure was built at our house but that wasn’t where we were putting it.  It needed to be at the adjacent 20 acres – which meant it had to be moved.  Thus, the chain across the tin roof was in preparation.


The backhoe figured into the plan.


Wesley, with his strong muscles was there to help balance.  Check out those feet.  Nevermind not having a hard hat, we don’t even have shoes!  That’s farm boys for you.  Shoes are almost like a punishment. 😀


Okay, it’s up in the air; now where are we going with it???


Surely not…  Isn’t it a bit small?


Yes, I do believe that’s exactly where it is going.


Almmmooost there.  Just a little bit more.


Made it!


My husband thinks of some of the oddest ways to do things.  They’re definitely not always the traditional way but generally they work. 🙂  Go hubby!


Where it finally came to rest


And if the goats aren’t so thrilled with their new home, they should be.  Their lives have been spared.  They now can feel free to have more kids and we might be able to have us some milk!  That would be nice for a change.  😛

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Filed under Happenin's on the Farm

Artichokes or Archers?

I was reading The World of the Medieval Knight by Chrisopher Gravett to the younger ones the other day and I pointed to the arrow slits in the castle wall from where the archers would shoot their arrows.  “Who used these windows?” I asked.  Audrey piped up and said, “Artichokes.” 😀

What a goof 🙂


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Filed under Good for a Laugh, Uncategorized

Getting Organized with Schedules – Part 2

After I made my 12 week schedule for our Middle Ages unit study (see this post – Keeping Organized with Schedules – Part 1), I then did another spreadsheet that shows me what we should be doing at what time.  I put the times in to help keep me on track.  You could also do a schedule that showed general blocks of time, for instance:  8:30-12:00a.m. Unit Study, 1:00-3:00p.m. Independent Study.

As I said, I did mine with specific times for each part of our unit study to help me to be able to just move from one thing to another without having to put any thought into what is next on the agenda.

On my spreadsheet I made 5 columns across the top.  The first column heading says Time and the other four columns have the days of the week.  Our school week is only 4 days a week at this point.  It seems that if I schedule 5 days there is no breathing room if our days do not go as planned.  Sometimes my husband needs their help or we’ll have visitors or other distractions.  It’s also nice to have a day to focus on other things.  

Are you like me?  Do you get frustrated if your days do not go as planned or do you take it all in stride?  I have determined this time to not make an overambitous schedule (which I am wont to do) and to trim things down to where it’s manageable for the children.   I really like the four day week and of course, the children do, too, although this does make the 4 days longer since it’s not spread over 5 days.

The other day when I was reading aloud to them, Black Fox of Leorn,  I went over time.  Seeing this, I was able to realize, because of my schedule, where the problem lay.  I now have moved that to the evening (before bed) for our ROL time.

At this point, I only have Monday times filled in.  I wanted to be sure that it would work okay.  It seems to be going well so next I will fill in the other days.  Some days will be different because we’ll have Artist Appreciation, Rummy Roots & Nature Study. 

A schedule is never perfect.  Someone once told me that everything seem to work for awhile and then it becomes no longer effective (chore charts, rewards, etc.).  This has been completely true in my family.  I do not have kids begging to go to the schoolroom.  This is normal, I think.  Although they enjoy learning and I do, too, there are days when you just want to do something else.  My schedule may be fine for us at this season but in a year (or less 🙂 ) it may need to be reworked.

I often lose sight of the fact that we are unique individuals – what works for one may not work for another.  For instance, when I see the amount of subjects Lindafay of Higher Up and Futher In covers with her children, I’m amazed.  Are we doing something wrong that we’re not able to do the same?  Sometimes I feel like we are but then I try (Oh, Lord, help me to do more than try!) to remember that other peoples lives may be on a different track than ours, we’re unique from each other,  BOYS are different than girls (highlight and underscore that!).  I must never forget that God is directing our family. 

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD

Psalm 37:23 

So, if these ideas on schedules can be a help, I would be so happy.  But do not feel that you are failing or are a terrible mom/teacher if you do something completely different. 

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Filed under Homeschooling, Organization, Uncategorized

Keeping Organized with Schedules – Part 1

I cannot function very well without a schedule.  Oh, I manage to squeak by but inside I feel like I have nothing together.  I do whatever task or distraction is at hand rather than doing what may be a higher priority.  By the end of the day when I look back on what I have accomplished it amounts to very little. 

Did I do a load of  laundry?  Yes, but somehow I never did find the time to put it in the dryer, never-mind it being folded.  The baskets start to overflow and the ironing piles up.  The family eats well (most days) but what about the dishes that need to be hand-washed?  “Oh, I am too tired to face them.  I’ll get them tomorrow.”  Schoolwork needs to be checked and on and on. 

Homemaking is a full-time job besidestrying to homeschool.  And if you have a family business (which we do) that takes even more time.  Time is irretrievable; when it’s gone it cannot be taken back for us to reuse in a different way.  As I read somewhere, we all have 24 hours in our day.  No one is given any more and no one is given any less.  We have to decide what we will do with it.  

For me this means a schedule, especially if I’m homeschooling.  For cleaning your home  I love Flylady .  She has done a wonderful job of splitting up the areas of your home into Zones and giving you lists of what needs to be cleaned in that area.  I’m still trying to understand if she thinks you should do everything on the list once a month or little by little through the year.  Here’s a link to her lists.  For me, it’s little by little and sometimes not at all – depending on what’s happening at our home.  Be sure to check out Flylady’s Kelly’s Mission for the Day, too. 

I spent a good portion of my Saturday a few weeks ago figuring out schedules for the upcoming school term. I’m always on the look-out for new and improved methods so trying to find better ways to organize my kids’ school schedule’s fits right in there.  Besides I’m a lover of charts and lists so it’s of fun for me, too.  Mostly. 🙂

My new schedule for school was inspired by my dear sister of 7 children who was inspired by Lindafay of Higher Up and Further In.  Lindafay has been a great scource of inspiration to me and so many others – a lady who seems to have wisdom in how she implements a Charlotte Mason education.  I highly recommend her blog.  View Lindafay’s 12 week schedule for one of her daughters.

The beauty of this schedule is that everything is planned for 12 weeks.  You don’t have to think about what your kids assignments are for 3 months.  There is also a daily checklist you can give your child with the 12 weeks broken down as to what they do each day.

I’m a total novice when it comes to working with Microsoft Excel but I’ve learned a few things and that is where I typed up my own 12 week schedule.  We’re currently doing a unit study on the Middle Ages and so I’m finding it quite helpful to have everything laid out for me.  I can see at a glance everything that I’ll need to do with the children for our unit study.  There are some areas I still need to fill in but this is pretty well completed. 

I don’t know of a better way to show an example of how I did our schedule; hopefully, you will be able to get the general idea.

What do you use to organize your children’s schoolwork?   


Filed under Organization, Unit Studies