Monday, April 26, 2010

Pondering Next Year

This is about school. I am in that place again where I am wondering what to do for next year. I am debating the same options I did last year! Switch to Sonlight, or stay with My Father's World? I was really gearing up for Creation to the Greeks with MFW next year, but then had to look at the Sonlight website! I would jump into the 3/4 Core, which is American history condensed into one year...I've heard their 5th grade curriculum is really good--Eastern Hemisphere. Then we'd go on to World History in 6th grade. Anyone have any thoughts? I've shied away from Sonlight because I hear they don't include any art projects and more hands on is just a lot of reading...but I am always drawn to them because their books are supposed to be so good! Help! I'm going to a curriculum share this week, so maybe someone will have experience with Sonlight and can offer some more insight. My husband is right--it really just doesn't matter. He'd rather have us do a really intense Spanish curriculum and skip science and history! Heavens! I couldn't do that!!!! But we will be starting a Spanish curriculum next year! Any suggestions from anyone?????

Origami, Sumi-e, and Haiku

We are wrapping up our study of Japan. We had fun trying out some Sumi-e art (above), writing our own Haiku poems, and reading some great stories. I did not have fun with origami. I am not very good at it and not very patient. I managed folding the frog about 6 times today! I might have daddy try another form later this week. Poor Zeke kept telling me that I could quit, he'd pick an easier one...I think he saw the steam coming out of my ears! Here are the poems we came up was a beautiful afternoon, so we just sat on the deck writing poetry. I am not a big prose person, so this was new territory for me, but the kids are quite good at it :)

Spring is finally here
Little plants are sprouting fast
In the dirt they grow

Step outside and see!
Pretty purple blossoms bloom
Bees buzz around them

Fish move with their fins
Fast and swift they go, go, go
Up the river home

My favorite hi-light of the week is this:

Zeke wrote a biography! It was nice to have our English curriculum coincide with our read aloud book assignment! We had just finished the David Livingstone Heroes Then and Now book, so it was very natural for Zeke to pick him for his biography. We had one tough day where we butted our stubborn heads, but other than that, he did an excellent job!

We are starting our tour of Russia tomorrow, and hope to finish up Australia by the time we leave for 16 days...but a lot of other things have to happen in 16 days too!!! I have forgotten the camera for two big events this past week: gymnastics ribbon class and Eli's Day out with Thomas trip with Daddy and buddy Isaac! I'd forget my head too if I had to think about collecting it before going out the door! I will try to do better this week and get some shots of soccer games, since we spend many hours a week at soccer fields!

A Super Party

This is my year for birthday parties! I have not had a big party for any of the kids in a few years, so I decided I had no excuse this year! Eli wanted a Super Mario Brothers Party for his 5th birthday and he had a blast! On a side note, we learned that Super Mario Brothers was invented in Japan, so it fit right in with our ECC curriculum these past few weeks :) Anyways, we had some games for the kids to play, a great cookie cake, and a great time with friends and family. Eli was quite the gentleman when he opened his presents: he took time to read every card and walked over and gave everyone a hug after opening their present. Happy Birthday, Eli! Hope you had a smashing time!

Friday, April 16, 2010

China Town

We finished up another country in our Exploring Countries and Cultures curriculum this week. The kids really enjoyed our stories and projects while we studied China. The Chinese lanterns were so easy to make! And we enjoyed a meal at a new chinese restaurant right around the corner. It was a buffet, which I do not usually like, but I survived it without getting food poisoning :) The kids were SO excited to go and had fun trying out the chopsticks and all had pretty good attitudes trying some of the foods!

On the non-school front, I have been very overwhelmed with so many things going on lately. Soccer frenzy has started, which is fine and fun, but my mind has been so pre-occupied with the planning of a certain 5 year old's birthday party coming up this weekend (which is all I really want to do). And then there is our Disney trip I'd really like to sit down and plan all the details for (it is coming up in less than a month and our housing fell through)! And then there are always so many other things we could do. I had to say no to my husbands request to go to a carnival night at the dental conference he's attending this week. A carnival?! Really, I have no time for that! ARGH!!!! The poor man just wants a fun date with his we are running errands tonight together instead. Yeah. **sigh** I just can't make everyone happy, but I strive to. I am still trying to learn how to say no and live by my priorities (I think this is a life-long one for me)!

Identify this Plant!

Can anyone tell me what this plant is? I have spotted 3 of them growing around our mulched garden areas...I'm assuming they were in the mulch we purchased last year. ???

Quiet Moments

I love these shots because it represents some of the quiet moments we have around here...occasionally, they do happen! Here is book basket time:

I love finding Abby enjoying herself outside, in God's creation. I will find her in her own little worlds so often out in our backyard. In the sandbox, on the swings, on the trampoline, in their clubhouse, and here, she made her own little desk area to sit and draw a picture. These little times are so precious to me. I love my B.G.

And here is Eli. Twice this week, he has given up waiting on me to make his lunch, so he's marched into the kitchen, announced that he's hungry and wants to make his own sandwich. He pulls out the lunch meat, cheese, and bread. This day, I just handed him a cutting mat and let him go to town! He was finished before the rest of us even sat down. I'm glad they don't have to rely on me for too much around here :)

Monday, April 12, 2010


I wanted to catch up on my school weeks here! Before Easter and after Micah's birthday, we had a great time studying India. I am determined to crank out Asia and Australia before we head to DISNEY (!!!!!!YEAH!!!!!) in May. Anyway, we spent a week and a half on India, and will do the same with China. Then I think we can fit Japan, Russia, and Australia into a week each. I love that MFW is actually flexible enough to allow this kind of scheduling to happen. I will say that we are doing A LOT of work each day, and this is teaching me to be way more diligent during the beginning of the year and not to take a month on a segment that was scheduled for 2 weeks! We finally finished our David Livingstone book, and I will be skipping the last two biographies...instead I picked a read aloud for China from the book list and am saving Mr. Popper's Penguins to end our school year with.

Nothing new for the basics...we are just cranking through math and language arts. Eli is enjoying the new Dick and Jane or Benny's Adventures book I place in his bucket each day. And he is just working on printing his letters with our memory verses. Abby will finish her Alpha math book with flying colors. I'm debating whether to do another year in Math U See for her or to switch her to Singapore next year like I did with Zeke. She doesn't seem to have the issues with Math U See like Zeke did...hmmm.... Speaking of Zeke...he's doing great, but we have had to have a lot of discussions about attitudes and Philippians 2:14-16a (we made it our memory verse for last week!). I will always butt heads with him since he and I are SO MUCH alike: rule followers, stubborn, perfectionists!!!! It is good to have the pep talks from my husband that remind me to focus on the important things... character issues are more important than completing a math page or a craft project! Issues are very inconvenient when they occurs during math time and take 45 minutes of discussion and training to solve, but I know it is the right work. :)

Here are our face paintings during our India study. The kids had fun performing a little skit for me after their paintings were done.

Here we are making volcanoes. The funny thing was getting a phone call during this project, answering it, exiting the room, leaving the children with vinegar and baking soda and having a LARGE mess to clean up! But it was OK. They had fun.

We ended our unit on mountains doing this activity suggested in the textbook. I'm pretty sure Zeke was the only one that understood why we were doing this activity.

And over the span of 2 weeks, we fit in a "green craft" activity from the Family Fun magazine. It fit in well with our science lessons on Reducing, Reusing, & Recycling. These fish are made from 2 L pop bottles. Fun!


We had a wonderful Easter, and we hope all of you did too! We did our usual Easter baskets and egg hunt Sunday morning before church and then stopped and saw great grandma and grandpa, uncle Ted and Aunt Paulie before heading to Jackson for a lovely meal and afternoon with Marilyn, who graciously invited my dad and grandma and grandpa for Easter dinner! Here are some of the cute shots...I have been taking horrible pictures lately :( I'm not good at lighting and using the big flash. I need to work on that, but it's really not high on my priority list lately! I didn't even color Easter eggs with the kids this year! Thankfully Mimi thought of it and the kids had fun dying eggs with her (their favorite babysitter) while Steve and I went out on a date.

We also made some easter baskets with our small group from church for the family we adopted at Christmas time. I'm glad we did this activity as a family event.

Jesus IS alive!