What is Protocol?

So there’s another aspect of our homeschool curriculum that I’d forgotten to mention last month. Our high school students get dressed up and go out to a fancy restaurant and then attend a cultural event. This event is called protocol, and its purpose it to train our children in manners, and well, protocol. Over the years, the children have seen Shakespeare, symphony concerts and movies, and the ballet. This year was Esteban’s first year to go to protocol. At 24 students, it was also our biggest group yet. They ate at a castle that is near our house. The castle is a bed and breakfast hotel, and it hosts tours, parties, and dinners. The cultural event this year was the Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Weber. The dinner at the castle was also Phantom themed, and the children each got a mask to wear in honor of the show. The kids had a great time.


Rumor Mill

Rumor has it that Nicholas had fun at his birthday party. It was a cold, snowy day, and school was canceled all around the party, but Nicky’s party prevailed. He just turned 10, and he invited his friends and cousin Chanya to join him at 
It’s a building full of trampolines. The kids get special non-slip socks and jump for an hour. My kids are usually too pooped to jump for a solid hour. Nicky didn’t seem to have that problem! Katie and Jessie also joined in on the jumping. It looked like they were having fun! After the jumping, the kids had cake in the back room and gave Nicky his presents. Do you have any activities that happened in January that you’d like to share? Please email them to me at angie@carverlab.com. Thank you! Talk to you in February.

Alphabet Praise

I couldn’t turn down a Bible study. Especially one that took place while I waited for the children to finishAWANA, their weekly Bible memorization program,. (AWANA stands for “Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed”). The Bible study was about praise. We went through a wonderful devotional book together, and what I took away from this study was what I call ‘alphabet praise.’ The idea is that you can praise God with words, not just in song. And you can think of a different word for every letter of the alphabet to praise Him. So I use this model for praise. You should try it. It really makes you concentrate on the Lord.

I start out my prayers with this exercise, and I will include one a month here.

This is my favorite for January, though it

was hard to choose. I tried a few metaphors, and

this one is an extended metaphor for the whole

alphabet, and it’s based on music:


Father, You are an accordion with endless beautiful combinations

You are a delightful melody , an excellent harmony

a fresh fugue,
with gorgeous development

a heavenly riffingeniously executed

a joyous chorus on a killer bridge

luscious chords,
music overflowing the page

quarter notes taking the stageripping serious strings

triumphing to the utmost violions warbling,

xylophones pounding, yellow zithers

Morning Time

Morning time is a nice ritual to start the day. During our snowpocalypse, we were able to do morning time three days a week—as opposed to our usual one. This means we were able to finish the words to our psalm, (we are writing) a nice metaphor of God and water, and we were able to start putting it to music. The last group music project we’d done was a hymn. We also got a little further in our read aloud, 

Prince Caspian. I like to read one family book, and one CC book aloud to the children. Our current CC book is called Johnny Tremain. I have also added narration to the mix. It sounds simple. I have the children write a

summary of the chapter I have just read. But I found out that some of them are not used to paying attention when I read. This has forced them to attend. I have heard that narration will pay huge dividends down the road. We’ll let you know how this turns out.

Read Aloud Revival Challenge

January is the month of the read aloud revival read aloud challenge. We tried it last year, but I didn’t have the energy to do the rewards. You see, this is a serious challenge. If your children commit to reading aloud for 10 minutes a day for at least 25 days in January, magical things are supposed to happen. And there are incentives. I signed up for the challenge, and then printed out a page of rewards. I decided that if a child read aloud for five days, then they could draw a reward every day they read after that. Chanya’s favorite reward was the surprise outing. I took her to Art Bayou, a ceramics store where you pick out a dish and paint it with glaze.Inaweek,youpickitupandit’saoneofa kind dish. We were buoyant for days after this


Chanya and Esteban were the two children who participated this year. Chanya managed to read aloud for 24 days (!), and Esteban read for considerably fewer days. It didn’t work magic, per se, but Chanya chooses to read more often now. She never really liked reading before. Esteban is able to read aloud with more fluency, so that’s a good thing. Quiet as it’s kept, I remember that Imani and Joy became more animated readers when I insisted they participate last year. I was still tired and not feeling well much of the time last January, and I asked the girls to do the reading aloud during

morning time. Joy even used different voices for the characters in The Hobbit at the time. I almost didn’t resume reading aloud…