Friday, December 19, 2014

Simple Birthday Cake

My sweet baby Matthew turned 1!  I'm always amazed at how much they grow the first year, it really is amazing!  Happy Birthday little buddy!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Norway - MFW ECC & 1st, Weeks 12 & 13

We traveled to Europe this week with our first stop being Norway (and other countries nearby). Above is an art project from Global Art, felt patterned clothes.  We read several books as well, Snow Treasure and Heidi were the favorites.  We have included some of the other European countries in our reading as well, which is why we listened to the audio book, Heidi.

A currency kit came with our curriculum, which includes play money from each country.  At first, I was having them buy their snacks with the money, but snack time is always a bit crazy with 4 of them begging for food, adding in the money exchange was too much for me to handle.  Instead, I'm having them glue the money on the bottom of their flag pages, and everyone is happier.

This flag sticker book came with our curriculum, and I also bought an extra one for Rebekah.  The kids love using them, I'm glad I got an extra one!

Then, I had a bright idea to use some of our stamps from Stamps Teach.  Since we had so many stamps from European countries, I had them find the stamps, and then put them on a European map.  The map was too small, so they had to draw lines, or make a key.  Unfortunately, this was more fun for me than them.  Caleb was bored and just wanted me to tell him what to do so he could be done.  I was a bit bummed they didn't like it.

I found a few things that didn't have dairy in them to try from Europe.

This is fruit soup.  The recipe was in our teachers manual.  All of us liked the juice, but I was the only one that liked the fruit too!  I used raisins, dried apricots, and dried pineapple.

This was a very hard few weeks with math, spelling and English for Caleb.  The week long break for Thanksgiving was not good for his attitude!  He ended up doing a lot of double lessons in math because he needed to "do it again with a good attitude".  He was working on difficult subtraction in his head, which was tricky, but he was really doing a good job when he decided to have a good attitude.  I noticed that if his lessons (in any subject) aren't perfectly easy, then he tends to have a fit...

As far as spelling, I decided that Spelling Power just does not work for him.  The daily tests stress him out.  He cries and gets upset EVERY time he gets a word wrong, even though that's the point, to see which words he needs to study.  He needs the traditional spelling.  He can study the list of words all week and then take a final test at the end.  I went ahead and ordered Spelling by Sound and Structure, which is the same one we used last year and liked.  He's excited about it and keeps asking me when it's going to get here.

Rebekah has been doing wonderfully with her reading and math.  I'm amazed at how quickly she's learning to read.  For her math, she's been learning addition and subtraction.  She's determined to catch up to Caleb!

Lastly, I had to share a picture of Matthew seeing the Christmas tree for the first time!  Precious!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

When You Don't Feel Good Enough to Homeschool

I’m willing to bet that every one of us has felt like we weren’t good enough to homeschool our children.  Last week was a rough one for me, and many times I felt like I wasn’t doing a good job.  The crying and whining was driving me insane.  None of the fun things got done because it took forever to do the basic things.  But this weekend I found these verses, and God gave me a revelation.

Deu 6:5  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Deu 6:6  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
Deu 6:7  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Verse 5 talks about our relationship with God.  We are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and might.  Wow, that’s a big deal.  How is your relationship with Jesus?  Do you love Him with all your might?  What would it look like if you did?  According to Strongs, the word “might” in this context means Vehemence.  Synonyms of this word would be passionately, speedily, diligently, especially, exceedingly, loudly, eager, enthusiastic, zealous, and fervent.  This is not a casual brotherly love!  I think all of us need to work on loving Him with all our might!  Are we excited to talk with Him?  Are we diligent to keep our prayer time?  Do we speedily obey Him?  Do we loudly praise Him?

Verse 6 talks about God’s words being in our hearts, which is reading our bibles and knowing his words.  If we love Him with all our might, we should be interested in what He wrote to us!  Later on in this chapter, it also talks about writing God’s words on your doorposts.  Do you have any of God’s words on your walls at home?  I have been thinking about this lately and I intend to put more scripture in our home.  I remember every summer I went to my Grandparents house for a week in the summer.  On the wall was a plaque with the Lord’s Prayer written on it.  I was drawn to this plaque, and before I left one summer, I memorized the whole thing of my own accord.  I remember laying in bed saying it over and over to myself, and I still have it memorized today.  Written words are powerful!

So, only after God has told us to love Him and put His word in our hearts does He tell us in verse 7 to teach our children!  Wow, I have been getting it all wrong.  I have always tried to pray in the morning before school, but so often that time gets interrupted or cut short because we need to get to school.  I have been teaching my children first, and then working in a little bit of Jesus when I could.  There are no excuses.  It’s time for a priority shift.

Once my priorities are in the right place, I can then teach my children.  What does the bible tell us to teach them?  God’s word of course!  That needs to be our number one priority in our homeschool.  They need to know God’s word!  Will it hurt them if they don’t get to calculus?  Will it hurt them if they don’t know all the state capitals?  Will it hurt them if they haven’t read Shakespeare?  No, but it will hurt them if they haven’t been taught God’s word, and lead to have their own relationship with Him. 

As far at teaching the academics, I stand on this verse of scripture:

Phillipians 4:13  I can do all things through Chirst which strengthenest me.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Brazil - MFW ECC & 1st, Weeks 9, 10 & 11

Here we are "flying" to Brazil! I was the pilot, and I held out books with pictures of the rain forest as we were "flying" over the jungle. It was fun! We didn't try much Brazilian food because the kids were sick for 2 weeks. Ugh! But we did try tapioca pudding. I had to make it with almond milk since Rebekah is allergic to milk. It wasn't very thick, but it did taste good. Unfortunately, the only kid that liked it was Matthew. Since I have a lot of tapioca left, next time I'm making it with milk!

Can you guess our science topic? The rain forest! We made a rain forest model to help us remember the layers. I stuffed some green tissue paper in the tops of the tree trunks to make the leaves, but I forgot to take a picture before it got played with. Their favorite part was making the vines! We also had play dough fungi and foam monkeys.

Here is Caleb measuring 30 feet, which is the length a female anaconda can get, yikes!

We've been using The Complete Book of Animals to add to our animal study too, here is the spider monkey page.

And here are a few pages Caleb did for Brazil. I decided to let them add some of the Brazil play money to their flag page.

We read several books, and watched Wild South America (beware of nude Indians). My favorite part of South America was reading our missionary biography of Nate Saint. My son really loved this book because Nate came from an inventing family, and he also came up with some neat inventions as an adult. But while the story is tragic, it shows God's amazing grace!  When we finished the book, we watched the Torchlighters: The Jim Elliot Story , and we also found a series on Youtube called Journey to the Amazon that was very enjoyable and without violence or nudity.

Our curriculum came with some yellow paper airplane models too!

In math, Caleb started a new math book, Singapore 2B! So far, so good!

Along with the rain forest, we also talked about birds and how strong the arch shape is.  Here are 4 egg shells holding up 20 pounds of books!

For bible time, Caleb's been copying some verses from Matthew 5.  We also read about the Quechua Indians in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia in our book, Window on the World.

Caleb's been doing a good job writing lately.  If I set the timer, and tell him he can be done when the timer goes off, he writes without complaining.

We're still using Spelling Power, but I'm still not sure I like it.  I think we might modify it so that he doesn't get a test every day.  Even though it's not as efficient, he would probably do better if he studies every word.  That way, he'll feel good about himself when he gets more correct.  Here are a few activities we added to practice his words, a fill in the blank and letter tiles.

Rebekah just loves math!  She's been doing subtraction and is really good at it.  She's doing her workbook pages faster then scheduled.

Here are a few Proverbs copywork pages.  Her handwriting looks very good to me.

Lastly, we started a homeschooling group through our church!  I'm so excited about this group.  We'll be having a Mom's Coffee Night once a month and then at least one field trip with the kids.  Our first field trip was a meet and greet at a local pizza place.  We got a tour and then everyone made their own pizza, yum!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Clara's Kitchen Book Review

I checked out a delightful book at the library last week called Clara's Kitchen by Clara Cannucciari and her grandson Christopher. It is part cookbook, part history book, part autobiography. Clara was a grandmother that lived through the Great Depression, and she shares her recipes and her stories in this book. She has passed away now, but she left a great gift. Her grandson started videotaping her cooking recipes like her mother cooked when she was a child. You can view the videos on YouTube, Depression Cooking. There was not a lot of food during the Great Depression, yet they didn't go hungry. Clara's mother was a great cook, feeding her family from their vegetable garden. People were very resourceful and frugal during that time, good qualities for anyone today as well. I think I enjoyed this book so much because Clara was only 1 year older than my grandmother, who also grew up in Chicago.

I tried her recipe for Pasta with Escarole, although I used Kale instead because that's what was ready in our garden. I have made this dish twice for lunch, I think it's great with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese!

I did not receive any compensation for this review, I just liked the book!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Canada - MFW ECC & 1st, Weeks 7 & 8

We enjoyed our study of Canada! Above are soap carvings that the kids did.  The Ivory soap was really easy to carve with a toothpick, but the legs and ears were easy to break off...  Have a few extra bars of soap if you do this!  Rebekah's whale had to be wet and stuck back together, and I had to help her with the tail.  They thought it was great fun though and want to do it again.

We had a lot of fun trying new recipes from Canada to go with our study. I have a few friends that are from Canada, so I asked them for recipes. Below are pictures of our pate chinois and poutine, (click on the links for the recipes). Everyone loved both of them,

We also made blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup, and below they are enjoying puffed wheat squares, very good! Then, we solved a family mystery too! My husbands grandma was famous for making a desert for Christmas. Kevin loved these bars, but we never knew what they were. His grandma passed away a few years ago, and while I'm sure some of his Aunts have the recipe, we did not. I was surprised when I clicked on this recipe that was recommended for Canada:  Nanimo Bars. This is what his grandma always made! I wonder where she got the recipe? We do live in the upper midwest, but still a few hours away from Canada. I did not make these though because Rebekah is allergic to dairy, and that wouldn't be fair to make a "school" desert she can't have. I am going to make them at Christmas though for my husband, then there will be plenty of other deserts for Rebekah.

Here are some of the geography pages we worked on. The ones shown are Caleb's, Rebekah also did the same ones.

For science, we continued to study trees and plants. We did a fun experiment with celery. First, we learned what xylem and phloem were, then we peeled the xylem off of two sticks of celery. In each cup, there is one stick with the xylem on, and one without. They guessed what would happen, and then we waited a few days to see if they were correct. They were!

And we read a little about life cycles, then made a notebook page:

We got outside to enjoy the beautiful fall weather several times. Canada has an abundance of maple trees, and so does our neighbor! We tried to make maple leaf stamps, but it didn't work well, so instead we painted the outline. I love how Caleb's paper turned out.

We've been reading through the book of Matthew for our bible time. I read a blog article by a fellow My Father's World user about copywork and dictation, that I found very helpful at I have been doing copywork and dictation with Caleb, but I think I was focusing on the wrong things, and making it more stressful for him. This week went much better. I decided to use Mama Jenn's copywork pages because they have the verse written at the top of the page. Caleb was getting stressed out by having to copy it out of the bible. He'd loose his place, or be overwhelmed by how long it was. Even though it's the same length on this paper, it didn't bother him at all.  

Caleb is not a fan of writing, but I discovered a trick that has worked really well lately. I set a timer for 10 minutes, and then tell him he doesn't have to finish what he's writing, he only has to work diligently for that time. It works! Below was an English assignment to write an autobiography. There were a lot of questions that overwhelmed him at first. Once I told him he didn't have to do them all, just do his best for 10 minutes, he happily started writing and completed all but one of the questions!

It also worked a few days later when he had to write a play! No more asking if how many sentences he had to write and then trying to come up with the shortest ones possible!

And then we got to an easy assignment that turned into a battle...  Below is a poem that was in our book. He was supposed to memorize it, but since he memorizes bible verses through church, I only asked him to read it aloud to me. He didn't want to do it, and it turned into a big fit. When daddy came home, daddy decided he would have to memorize it after all. Once he quit having a fit (a very long one), he was able to memorize it fairly quickly. The next two days were spent copying it, and he did a great job.

For read alouds, we finished our missionary story from Mexico, Cameron Townsend. Then we read a funny book that the kids just loved called Owls in the Family.  I wanted to read Anne of Green Gables with them because it is set on Prince Edward Island, but we ended up just watching the movie instead due to time.

Rebekah made this adorable book in her 1st grade lessons. She copied each sentence from her workbook. I had to share each page:

She really loves math. We started addition by having a store and a restaurant.

Above, there is a picture of a modified game of candy land. Before she could pick a card, she had to read a word card. And below is a picture of Matthew's new favorite past time. Dumping!

That was our trip to Canada. Next stop, Brazil!
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