Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Year 3 Weeks 13-14: Victorian England and Victorians at Home and Abroad

I have SO been looking forward to this week!  We took a two-week break from American history to focus on what was going on across the pond in Victorian England!  We spent a lot of time this week reading "In the Days of Queen Victoria."  It was so interesting to me to read about her childhood and how she became queen of England at 18 years of age.  She was a fascinating person and queen!  I have also always loved the time period of her reign.  We really enjoyed reading about the lives of servants, commoners, and the aristocracy during this time period.  In Week 14, we focused mostly on the founding of Australia, and about the unique flora, fauna, and animals of Australia.  Of course, we're also keeping on with math, science, Veritas Bible, and All About Spelling!

The kids read this on their own this week. We are working toward more independent work this year, and it's going well!

Luke's notebook page for the week.  He called this, "Victorian Village", and said it was the best fountain he'd ever drawn.  We may need to talk about what the young lady in the doorway is wearing????

Kiryn opted to draw what it might have looked like in a Victorian kitchen.  I love this!  She obviously learned the basics, and the labels are just great!

From Kiryn's Classical Writing Primer.  I love love love her illustrations of the stories!

From our study of Australia

From Writing Aids, Luke used this Advanced Cluster Diagram to write a paragraph about his favorite Australian animal. Hilarious to me that he picked the Thorny Devil.

And here's Levi being silly with tape. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Year 3: Weeks 11-12: Jacksonian Democracy and Revolutions in Texas and Europe

These last two weeks have been a lot of fun!  We dove into history with stories of Davy Crockett, the Alamo, Cherokee Indians, and more.  We learned about Andrew Jackson, who was the first President from outside the aristocracy, born in a log cabin.  I have always loved Tapestry's book choices, but I am just not in love with The Story of the World.  The stories are fine, but I've often gotten bored with them.  They also are very clearly written from a secular world view, which is fine, but it's very obvious.  Because I've really been enjoying reading about Charlotte Mason method, and looking at ideas on Ambleside Online and Simply Charlotte Mason, I've gotten a lot of ideas about alternative books for our history readings.  These two weeks, we have read stories from This Country of Ours and Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans, both online free at  There are hundreds of fantastic books online free there.  I find these stories to be more detailed, but also more engaging to my kids than Story of the World.  We are loving the readings we've done from books on Main Lesson! (I found out about Main Lesson through our writing program, Classical Writing. It was recommended on their website.)

My kids really loved the stories of Davy Crockett.  Luke did a great notebook page about him, and wrote a paragraph about his childhood.

I'm beginning to implement more and more of the projects from Writing Aids. I really love what we're doing with Classical Writing, and plan to keep with it through high school.  The writing assignments in CW and Writing Aids are completely different types of things.  I like Tapestry's emphasis on "read, think, write," specifically about the history they are learning.  There are some really fun assignments in Writing Aids, as well as some great information in the students Talking Points, and really great graphic organizers.  This week, I had Luke use the WA Story map for his CW assignment, The Top and the Ball.  

Kiryn enjoyed reading about Susanna of the Alamo this week. 

 I have been wanting to do more memory verses with the kids, but it was one of those things I could never quite manage to plan or organize well. I found this verse pack that came with our Children's Desiring God preschool curriculum.  It's been great!  We're doing one verse a week, and it's been wonderful.  

Levi is trucking along with his phonics.  He did this all by himself! He knows all the letter sounds, and is beginning to smash the sounds together to make a word!  Progress! : ) 

It was a great couple of weeks in homeschool. We have a break planned the next two weeks as we have friends visiting, and Thanksgiving! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Year 3 - Week 10: John Quincy Adams and Political Realignment

We are getting back into the swing of things here at Preedy Academy!  This week, we began a new unit in our third year of Tapestry.  I just love the Tapestry books!  This unit, we are covering 1825 to 1850.  We began our studies with a look at the Presidency of John Quincy Adams, the last of the aristocratic presidents.  We also studied DeWitt Clinton, Governor of New York and his dream of seeing the Erie Canal come to be!

I didn't really know anything about the Erie Canal, but we went through a great book by Cheryl Harness that was very well-illustrated and engaging.  It had a song in the back cover that we also really enjoyed learning about the building of the Erie Canal.

This unit, I'm moving more of our work out of a notebook and into a copybook.  The kids have had copybooks for a couple of years now.  But I've just used it literally to copy things into, quotes, Bible verses from time to time. It hasn't been very useful.  So this  unit, we're doing daily copy work.  We're also introducing some more Charlotte Mason ideas, which I'll cover in a separate post.  We'll be doing some of our Charlotte Mason things in the copybook, as well as our spelling work, and any other writing work that doesn't have its own book.

Kiryn has been learning about mammals in her nature study portion of Classical Writing Primer.  She chose to study Charlie this week. :) 

We've been printing the painting of the week and putting it in her book.  I always love to read her observations of the art. 

I was really impressed with her homonyms, she did this with no help at all. Not bad for a six year old!

Here isa  picture of Luke's copybook from this week.  He's got his scripture memory verse, some illustrations, and his spelling dictation here. 

Kiryn's copybook from this week!

And here is Levi.  Apparently, dad showed the kids some YouTube videos of people walking on nails?? Here is Levi pretending this toy board is a bed of nails...  thanks YouTube.

We had some friends come for dinner this week, and those boys had such a blast dressing up as super heroes and chasing each other around the house!

I've been still struggling with my health. Physically, I feel fine most days.  But I've been on a path to understand where this autoimmune thing has come from.  Doctors say that a lot of people are born with the pre-disposition to certain conditions, but they only manifest if certain situations come to be in your life.  It can be triggered by poor diet, or digestive issues, or problems with your gut.  It can also be caused by stress.  There are other contributing factors, but these are the two most common ones.  I've been doing a lot of reading and research.  It's really hard to know without certain testing (only available in the US) if you have a compromised gut or digestive issues.  I don't have any of the apparent signs, but likely diet has been a factor.  But I KNOW that stress has been a factor.

Living in a third culture, a third world country that has a challenging culture just automatically ups the stress level on a daily basis.  Running a small business and feeling responsible to keep seven ladies employed, all in a second language, ups the stress level.  Having four small children ups the stress level.  Homeschooling and having your children always at home ups the stress level.  Going through an international adoption and learning your agency has not been honest with you ups the stress level.  Traveling internationally every six months (with four kids) ups the stress level.  Six months ago, I probably would not have said I was stressed out.  But it's been compounding and intensifying in ways I didn't understand over the last two years.

Because I've been realizing all of this, and it's been becoming more apparent the toll it's taken on my mental, emotional, and spiritual health, I have just felt tired, in every way, and overwhelmed.  I have a lot of emotional days, and a lot of days where I don't want to do anything.  For the last few weeks, school has been "bare minimum."  Bare minimum equals no fun pictures. :(  We've been keeping up with our work and the things we need to get done.  We're not falling behind.  We just haven't been doing any extras or fun projects or art.

Paul and I are doing what we need to do to deal with the stress, at least as much as we can while it is still present in our lives.  We can't really remove any of it.  We're working on learning better ways to deal with, counseling with our pastor and friends, and seeking a renewal from our heavenly Father.

We would really covet your prayers as we walk through a deep valley right now and attempt to pull ourselves out of it by the grace of God.   

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Year 3-Week 8 & 9: South America in Transition

Howdy!!  I'm blogging two weeks together, because we did a bit of traveling in between, and have three weeks where we did two weeks of school.  

I love the Classical Conversations Trivium Tables. Luke is doing Table 2 and Kiryn is doing Table 1.  She likes to leave me little notes instead of doing her work.  

In Artistic Pursuits we did gold (silver) leaf art.  Below, Luke imitated the decorations around the piano. He did a great job!

This week, we learned about bases and acids with our indicator, cabbage juice.  It sure was stinky, but they loved this experiment!

We continued with our study of South America these last two weeks and really enjoyed studying the geography more in-depthly.  

And, just for some fun, here are some funny art that was produced this week.

This was in Meryn's school book.  Only in India do they draw cars with black smoke coming out the back. Ha!

This masterpiece is by Kiryn.  Check out the middle:

Well, it's hard to keep these things out of family life. :)  Might as well laugh about it! 
We're taking a break next week, and we'll be back at it at the end of October!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Year 3-Week 7: Reshaping Europe and South America

Week 7! Hard to believe we are already almost finished with the first nine weeks of this year!

We did a really fun science experiment this week!  The kids asked to do it again and again!  They learned that the presence of calcium in hard water means water doesn't bubble up with soap as much as regular water. Chemistry is fun!

I love how Elemental Science requires the kids to draw pictures and make observations and conclusions in their notebooks for each experiment!  

This week we began a three week study on the formation of South America and Simon Bolivar, the Libertador!  I had never studied his life before, so I learned a ton about the history of South America and how it was influenced by what was going on in Europe and North America.  We loved the title "South America: The Continent and its Countries."  It was published by Tapestry of Grace I think, specifically for this year.  It was the perfect combination of fun activities and information.  This week, we learned about Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. 

The kids also LOVED this book about Adoniram Judson.  They asked to read it all day long.  We couldn't finish it fast enough for them.  A great story of his life told gently enough for children.  We all enjoyed hearing about how much he wanted to come to India, but wasn't allowed to stay here!

The beginnings of a three week mapping project of South America.  I love these Tapestry maps!

And, here's a random picture of Kiryn doing a nature study for Classical Writing Primer.  She's been going outside and finding a leaf, and we've been searching a great site I found to match it to the type of tree it comes from.  Then she's to write about the tree, draw pictures of the leaf and the seed.  She's been having a lot of fun with this!

It was a great week, and we're looking forward to getting more into South America the next two weeks! 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Year 3: Week 6- Madison and the War of 1812

Happy birthday to me!  Monday was my 35th birthday.  Dad celebrated in style by taking us for a night away to the Marriott! It's always been a dream of mine to go to the Marriott for a night, ever since it opened a couple of years ago in our city.  We got to eat two meals in a row there, dinner buffet and breakfast buffet.  We swam in their gorgeous pool twice, and all enjoyed the luxurious bath tub and room. Truly relaxing and we so enjoyed ourselves!

So, that started our week off strangely.  We missed our learning work entirely on Monday, because we were busy soaking up all the Marriott we could. : )

We tried to get the all of our work done in the rest of the four days!  This week, we studied the life of James Madison, and his wife, Dolley.  She was known as the host-est with the most-est at the White House.  She was technically the first First Lady to live there.  John and Abigail Adams moved in just before his term ended, while it was still largely unfinished.  Thomas Jefferson lived there, but his wife had already passed away.  Even during Jefferson's term, Mrs. Madison played hostess in his wife's absence, since her husband was serving as Secretary of State and working closely with Jefferson.

We did an experiment to try to absorb the pigment of spinach into a coffee filter. 

It didn't work. :(

Enjoying our Latin memory match game.  Their vocabulary is building quickly, and they always look forward to Latin! Kiryn has even been using Latin words in regular conversation!

Luke's Classical Writing Composition this week: The Crow and the Pitcher. 

Aaaaaaa. : )  Pictures from my birthday at the Marriott below!

Fun times swimming!

Kind of blurry... the lighting in the rooms was not great for pictures, but all my kids are in it! :) 

Paul ordered a personal birthday cake to be delivered to the room!  Fudgy mousse chocolate cake. With peaches and white chocolate on top! :) 

The amazing beds!

It was a great week and we had tons of fun!  Looking forward to the next three weeks in which we'll dive into an in-depth study of South America!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Year 3-Week 5: Jefferson and the Supreme Court

The last couple of weeks, I've been reading more about Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling.  I've read a few books about it before, but I got onto the Ambleside Online website this week to figure it out a bit more.  Even though I'm happy with what we're doing, I just always really like to evaluate other curriculums and glean the best stuff from them to implement in what we are doing.  I loved a lot of what I saw on Ambleside Online!  

The entire curriculum is free online. You can access the schedules and titles, and many of the literature selections have links to free Kindle or audio versions here.  I ended up downloading about 40 books from the Years 2 and 3 list to my Kindle... for FREE!  We have been enjoying the Burgess Book of Animals, and This Country of Ours since then.  

Charlotte Mason is not technically a classical education. But there are many elements that overlap.  A chronological study of history paired with historical literature, some memory work, the study of Latin and Greek, for a few examples.  I really love the philosophy of education in CM method, and hope to implement some of her ideas as I learn more about them (how to do them!). I think it will dovetail nicely into a more strictly classical approach in the upper grades.  I'm grateful for the literature recommendations.  Tapestry is wonderful, and their literature picks are great, but are all historical in nature.  CM is giving me lots of good reading for the kids outside of that!

One of the things I love about CM is the focus on nature.  That's always been a challenge for me, though, because we just don't have a lot of it around.  This week, for Kiryn's Classical Writing Primer nature study, she was to draw what she can see from the west side of our house.  Well, we could see the park from there.  So we took a walk.  We spent about an hour that morning at the park.  

She got a much better view of it in order to draw it more accurately.

Luke enjoyed running around and throwing sticks. : ) He did listen to some Aesop though!

She found a bug....

Toward the end of our hour, a female peacock swooped down over us and landed at the other end of the park.  We were able to watch her for quite a few minutes as she walked around, then flew up on the fence, then flew up on top of the house across the street.  The kids were fascinated!

In Tapestry this week, we studied the judicial branch of the government, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution.  So we wrote down our own rules on parchment paper. 

We also made silhouettes!  This was a fun activity!

We began a cumulative map project this year.  We're adding each state as we come to it in history with it's date it joined the Union. 

Here is Luke's notebook page for history.  He drew a tree with three branches to represent the government. 

Here's Kiryn's drawing of the park!

I love Kiryn's illustrations of the Aesop's fables she's reading! :)