December 21, 2005

Fleece Navidad

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand." - John 10:27


I've been feeling a little sheepish lately. You know, there are a lot of similarities between a shepherd and his sheep... and a dumb human and his Savior. Sometimes I wonder if the sheep aren't smarter than we are. I had a friend ask me how I homeschooled, when she thought she was unorganized and couldn't do it... and all I could do was laugh. You see, I'm as A.D.D. as they get. I should probably be on medication, but I just dope up on prayer. So far, my kids are brilliant, and they seem to learn despite my flaws and lack of teaching experience. It is as big of a miracle as a Savior giving His life for His sheep (the fact that He daily gives me what I need to nurture my little lambs). He is such a wonderful Shepherd.

Why all this talk about sheep? The kids and I are having fun learning about our wooly little friends through our current KONOS unit. We're studying TRUST: Good Shepherd, Sheep & Weaving right now. I haven't gotten really excited about this unit, but it has been a nice surprise, and a great unit in learning trustworthiness, how to trust God, and how important our Shepherd is to His flock. I thought I would share a few links and finds we've made recently. Hopefully we'll be able to do some more crafts (funds are tight) and put some pictures of those up later. We're doing school through the holidays (everything except Math - which will start again after New Years)... so there should be plenty of time for arts and crafts this week and next.

Morgan came up with the title of this post. We had just finished reading a really cute book full of sheepy poetry, and she had been humming the song "Feliz Navidad" since we were in the car earlier. She suddenly said, "Fleece Navidad!" She was so delighted with herself. She snickered. Kaden and I laughed and told her she was funny. I decided to look up "Fleece Navidad" on the computer. I figured she wouldn't be the first to have coined the phrase, although she's most certainly the cutest. I was right.

Look at all these interesting things we found:
A pillow someone sold on Ebay (how cute),...

...a tree ornament for sale at "Our Name is Mud",...

...and a cross-stitch pattern from "1-2-3 Stitch".

The kids have been reading everything the library had to offer on sheep: Sheep picture books, sheep encyclopedia-type books, and of course, the silly sheep poetry book. It was woven with wonderful illustrations and wooly humor. In case you are interested, it's a great book to add to your personal library or to give as a gift. Here's a sample from the book that I'm sure you'll love as much as I did:

Sister Alabaster

Sister Alabaster,
with fleece as white as
is a Kung-Fu master,
excels at Tae Kwon Do,
dabbles in
at judo she is tops.
Just watch your back
‘cause she’ll
That lamb sure knows her chops!

This is one that I would consider buying for our collection. I usually find a few really great books as we do each unit… and we eventually will add them to our wish list (note to self: need to create a wish list page for my blog)!

I’ve also been busy trying to find a sheep farm somewhere near me, so we can go and see the sheep. I would guess that this isn’t the time of year to shear them, but at least we could go and see them up close. I have a message in to the County Extension Office, and hopefully they will call me back with good news. Unfortunately, I don't know any sheep farmers myself. Although, my husband has asked me lately how difficult it would be to raise sheep. How would I know? You're talking to a complete bona fide city-girl here, buddy. Not that it's anything to boast about. My biggest farm experience growing up was riding "Casper the Friendly Cow" a few times while visiting my grandparents who had a small farm in central Texas. I was a wanna-be-farm-kid, stuck in the big city... and an only child, at that!

Another interesting little tidbit is the Pendleton Woolen Mills kit we got in the mail. I am surprised that I was able to have the foresight to order it before we moved, seeing as how I knew we would be studying this unit at Christmas time. I had already forgotten about it during the move when my kit came. Free educational materials from Pendleton are available by visiting their website and filling out your address for the kit to be mailed. They offer videos to educators as well. I wasn't smart enough to request that, though - so we'll just see if the library has an interesting video about sheep shearing that we can check out. The kit we got has a little brochure about how to care for your woolen sweaters, and a large brochure with samples of freshly shorn fleece, and different samples from the various stages that it goes through before becoming warm, winter wool.

... and just for fun, here's another sheep humor site I ran into while doing some research:

Sheep Laughs

Good bye for now, Ewe


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Sheri said...

How fun!!! I swear if I EVER have money again I am buying Konos...and telling them Heather sent me!

Oh..I read a story once that was so interesting about how God refers to us as his children as his sheep...NOT his "Kids". It went on to explain that in a storm sheep will huddle around and protect their babies (children) and die for them...yet Goats (the parents of kids) will run off and leave them. It really hit home with me and I tried to stop referring to my children as "Kids"..but then I thought God would just be happy as long as I huddle around them during the storms in their lives.


Sprittibee said...

I'll tell you a little secret, but it's between you and me. Konos is the cheapest homeschool program available! You buy three huge volumes that last from Kindergarten through 8th grade... and that's it! And if you want, you can add in a timeline wall chart and some timeline figures... but we are going to make our own notebook style timeline and print figures from the computer. Living in an apartment, there's no room for a huge wall chart that takes up one whole wall of a bedroom. It's not that pretty, either... just a triangular timeline with AD and BC sides.

I am completely broke, also... I had three dollars in my account yesterday and had to roll change to deposit 20$ to keep it from going negative until Payday this Friday. So, I hear you on the money thing. I purchased my Konos volumes from previous owners, and out of good faith, I bought a smaller book (Obedience Unit Book) and the timeline from the Konos website. I certainly want to support the Konos publishers since they have made such a great product and continue to develop and update it.

The Obedience book has the most awesome languge arts program and if you are going to start off with Konos, it is highly suggested that you start with that book to get your feet wet.

Crafts cost as much as you would want to spend. You can use household products (toilet paper rolls, etc.) and do cheap crafts... or you can buy kits (paint by number, stained glass kits, cross-stitches, clay kits, science kits, etc.) if you really want to spend some money. Most of the crafts in Konos are very inexpensive. Our Indian False Face mask used a chinette paper plate and some instant paper macheit (sp?), some black yarn and paint. The Indian vests we made were just brown grocery sacks with buttons, feathers and paint. You can make costumes out of your old throw-away clothes and leftover yarn or string.

We keep a box ("the pretty box") of dress up clothes and accessories for dramatizing things. The kids really get a kick out of dramatizing scripture memory verses or stories they have read.

There are other Unit studies out there, but I would say that Konos is the most popular, and the email loop that you can join has so many wonderful moms that are available to ask questions to and gain support from.

I know I spend a little more time preparing and planning than most people who used boxed curriculum, but it is all worth it for the kids (and for me). Some times I wonder who is learning more or having more fun, THEM or ME???!

Anonymous said...

You sound like you've settled in somewhat and are enjoying life a little more. I'm glad to hear that. I just wanted to let you know that those goats aren't mine, but I just happened upon them at the state fair back in August. :o)

Grizzly Mama said...

I've run into that too. Parents telling me 'oh - I couldn't do that - I'm not patient or organized enough!' I just laugh and tell them there is nothing special about ME. I'm not a paragon of patience and I'm quite scattered. It's a shame that most parents believe the lie: they are incapable of teaching their children.

Thanks for the info on wool - I ordered a kit - the kids will love it. (so will I!!)

Take care and have a beautiful Christmas.

Sprittibee said...

Thanks for those great sheep noises you emailed me, Firefly. Your photos are great. Hope you win the Homeschool Blog Awards Photo Blog category.

Thanks, Griz. Hope your kids enjoy the little wooly kit. When you get it, you can fax in the form that comes with it and they will mail you the video as well. It takes up to 4 weeks to get mail back and forth from them, though. Bummer.



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