July highlights

Thursday, July 31st, 2003
We spent the morning of the 4th of July fishing at the local catch and release pond in Pine Mountain.  Kelly turned four this year, and Emily turned six.  We celebrated their birthdays with family in Modesto.  After the party, Grandma, Aunt Cindy and Uncle Bob watched our girls while Eric and Kathy attended the CHEA homeschooling conference.  Grandma then came home with us and we joined Eric on his week-long business trip to Ojai.  Kathy, Doris, and the girls visited Ojai, Santa Barbara and Solvang.  the girls got in lots of swimming time at the hotel.  Eric turned 40 this month!  Since we were in Ojai, the family surprised him with a party in the hotel room.  The entire family was able to attend another special class at church called "Walk Through the Bible."

Fire on the hill!

Tuesday, July 29th, 2003
Early this morning, Wendy came into our bedroom to tell us that a house across the valley was on fire. Sure enough it was and we could see the flames high above the tree tops from our bedroom.  Due to the heroic efforts of our local fire department and with backup support from other units, the fire was quickly extinguished before the flames could spread to adjacent homes or forest.  Fortunately no one was hurt, however, one home was destroyed.
   
Even though the fire was a mile away, when you live in the dry Southern California mountains, surrounded by Pinion Pines (think rockets), in a Cedar home (think firewood), coated in Penofin (think diesel oil), you take any threat of fire very seriously.
   
We had been remiss in practicing for a fire drill, but we did have an evacuation checklist, which we began to work through.
Image:Fire on the hill!
The fire appears to be out now, but my webcam is still picking up the smoke.
   
Let me encourage you, wherever you live, to have and test your evacuation plan -- especially if you have children or people who need special assistance in your home.

Walking through the Bible

Sunday, July 27th, 2003
This weekend, our family enjoyed a special treat: we were able to participate in the popular "Walk through the Old Testament" seminar, hosted by our church.

Image:Walking through the Bible

Over the course of an afternoon, we were taken on an unforgettable adventure back to the beginning of time. We learned to memorize stories (complete with hand motions) of prominent characters and events and places from the Bible.

It was an enjoyable afternoon. There were at least 300-400 adults in the conference center and another 200-300 children in the youth building memorizing the words and motions that tell the stories.  No note taking needed. Then, at the conclusion, we all came together in the conference center to challenge each other (adults vs children) to repeat from memory all of the events and people we had learned about.

We are looking forward to next year, when our church will host a "Walk through the New Testament" Seminar.

If you want to learn about the people, places, and events of the Bible, this is a wonderful seminar and a terrific motivator to help you along the way. http://www.walkthru.org

Here horsey....

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2003
Image:Here horsey....Image:Here horsey....
Elisabeth Vernand, one of the wonderful people I work with at The David Allen Company, invited our family over to see her miniature pony farm, Ojai Painted Minis.
The girls thought it was fun to play with full grown ponies that were shorter than they were.  Kelly especially liked being bigger than something for a change. We had a lot of fun and it took the rest of the day to explain to the girls all of the reasons why we were not going to bring some home and let them live in our house.  I did not have an answer to their question "But why do you let Lassie live in the house?"  Thanks, Liz.

Fallacy Detectives

Thursday, July 17th, 2003
Kathy and I have just returned from our annual trip to a home educator's conference.

We left renewed in our commitment to home educate our children and wondering how we are going to work in the new subjects that we desire to add to an already busy curriculum.  This year, what really has my interest, is the classical form of education and logic.  

On the classical side, the presentations on the Trivium, were quite compelling.  Kathy and I were as interested for the benefit of our children as we were for ourselves.

On the Logic side, I attended a session by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn on how to recognize bad reasoning.  Their book, "The Fallacy Detective" is designed to help families study logic together.

It was truly inspiring to spend the weekend at a conference with over 5000 parents, all of whom had only one focus -- improving their child's (and their own) education.

I walked away with a lifetime of recommended reading lists.

Music & Speech

Sunday, July 13th, 2003
Today, Kathy and I are in Ontario, California, participating in a Home Education Conference.  (CHEA)  We attended fascinating presentation, entitled, "The Profound Effects of Music on Life," by Andrew Pudewa.  In his presentation, Pudewa describes in detail, the beneficial as well as potentially detrimental effects which various types of music have on living things, namely children.  I bought the tape series.  I'll try to find a link to the program. His current web site, does not yet have it listed.
http://www.writing-edu.com

A sign from God

Thursday, July 3rd, 2003
I am on my way up North to visit some family today. While driving on Interstate 99 North of Bakersfield, California, I was contemplating some business decisions and thinking to myself, "God, just give me a sign."

As I rounded the corner...

Image:A sign from God