Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tapestry of Grace: Year 4 Week 4

We continued our study of World War I this week.  We really hit our stride this week.  What was taking us 3-4 hours, is now taking us 1-1.5 hours to get done.  That makes this mama happy!  Here's a look at our student's schedule each week:

(this is really just a guide, and something to shoot for, it rarely happens like this!)

We reviewed our states geography. 

Here, we are using Legos to build different types of molecules.  Chemistry is totally fun!

It takes a lot of energy to keep the little ones busy and quiet.  More energy than I have most days!

But this game was a success!!! :)

Luke is growing up and is really taking to the independence required by his Tapestry studies this year.  He likes to be in control of his work and gets it done quickly, though not always well.  We're working on it. : ) 

Kiryn does not like having her picture taken. She was also not happy about drawing a soldier. 

We were so excited to go to our first Derby Homeschool Connections co-op meeting.  The kids had fun with science and PE! 

Back at home, doing some final drafts of writing projects on Aesops Fables. 

Luke did a great job on completing a cluster diagram with facts about U-boats, and then using it to write a well-constructed paragraph. 

Since I utterly failed with Artistic Pursuits two years in a row, I decided to go another direction this year.  I purchased Harmony Fine Arts, which I believe was written by a fellow Tapestry mom to coordinate with Tapestry studies.  There are three different tracks written in to the program, and we are following the track that uses Drawing With Children, by Mona Brooks. I have had that book for awhile, but it took the guide in Harmony Fine Arts to get me to use it.  We are loving the drawing lessons, and the podcasts.  I am not artistic or inclined to drawing at all.  So this has been a huge help to me, and gotten the kids exceed about art. 

We finished off our Friday by making Anzac biscuits.  These cookies were made by Australian and New Zealand women during World War I and sent to their soldiers on the front line.  They didn't spoil because they contain no egg or milk.  Since they were also easy to make gluten free, and had coconut in them, we were all excited to enjoy them! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Not Praising What is Not Praiseworthy

I found this digging through some old files on my computer. I think I wrote it maybe five years ago, long before I was blogging, as a note to myself.  It was an excellent reminder to me this week.

I got an email from a friend and it mentioned not praising what is not praiseworthy. This friend was talking about reading People magazine and how it’s truly hypocritical.  I think what she means is she enjoys reading it, but is disgusted with what she’s reading, which is why she enjoys it. J  It struck a chord with me and caused me to consider, what do I do with my actions or words that teach my kids to praise what is not praiseworthy? 

If the kids see me spending more time on my appearance each morning than I do with the Lord, it teaches my girls that beauty is more valuable than Christ, and my boys that a beautiful woman is more valuable than a spiritually deep one.

If the kids observe that Paul and I would prefer to watch television or read a book *every* evening, and never get to observe us just enjoying each others company and talking together, then we are teaching them that the marital relationship is not a priority and entertainment and knowledge are more valuable than unity and enjoying time with your spouse.

If the kids see me worrying about the way the house looks when people are coming over, or putting off a visit from friends until I can get my house “clean”, I’m teaching them that orderliness and cleanliness are more valuable than people and relationships.  Or, it’s teaching them that what people think of my home is more important than spending time with them, and that friends won’t just love you for you, but you must be perfect and have a clean, perfectly kept home in order to maintain good friendships.

If my kids see me being easily angered at home and not joyful in my daily chores or not serving our family happily, but then notice me smiling and being kind and friendly to strangers or acquaintances in public and willingly doing things for others outside the home, it teaches them many things, but here's just a couple.  One, that you only serve those whose good opinion you desire, and who can do something for you in return, and two, that insincerity is okay, and possibly better than genuine honesty. 

If the kids see me always, or even occasionally discounting what Paul says, not immediately following his suggestions, not paying heed to his advice, just generally not listening to him, it teaches them that he is not worthy of respect and listening to, that what I think is more important and better, and that a wife need not submit to her husband in any way. 

These are ways that I think I struggle with praising what is not praiseworthy, and they are not things I want to unconsciously, unintentionally teach my kids.  I want to work on letting the Lord be of supreme value in my own heart, and showing that to them with my actions and words, so that their hearts will learn to value HIM above everything else, and secondly, to value what He says is valuable, not what our culture values.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tapestry of Grace: Year 4 Week 3

This week we began a four week study of World War I.  I admit, I didn't really understand what this war was about, or really know very many facts about it.  I have learned a lot in my planning and preparation for this unit!  I'm so thankful that my kids will hopefully grow up with a better understanding of the events and chronology of history, how things fit together, and God's plan in it all, thanks to Tapestry! :) 

We did a big fun project this week: we build a model of a trench and played trench warfare!  
Our trench was not dug in the ground, but we pretended it was.  :)

The kids spent several hours drawing and coloring on the inside walls.

HUGE imaginations at work!

Finished product: Luke's medical aid hut.

Kiryn drew pictures and postcards from home on th ewall.

Paul bought Luke this belt in Leh, India on a trip once, and it looks very similar to the WWI soldier belts.  Helmet and gun, not so authentic. :) 

I love their expressions, they really look like soldiers! 

Such fun and memories made this week! Oh, and we did some actual work too. : )  Here's a map of the Allies territory vs. the Central Powers.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tapestry of Grace: Year 4 Week 2

We had a fun week!  We finished up learning about Teddy Roosevelt, read about William Taft's presidency, and learned about the construction of the Panama Canal, as well as the San Francisco earthquake.  I didn't get too many pictures of this week!

Luke and Kiryn are really doing great in Latin. I'm very impressed with Song School Latin, and am glad that we continued with the second book this year.  It is still their "favorite subject".  I'm also really impressed with their level of retention of what they learned last year.  Here's a video of them using what they know:

We are working through Apologia's Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics this year.  We did a fun activity this week of building atoms with candy! :)  It helped them learn in a hands-on way about protons, neutrons, electrons, and the structure of atoms.

We made two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, and in the end, we had one molecule of water! :)  

We're still off to a good start!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

2014 School Year is off and running!

We are so excited to be settled enough to begin school this week!  We are looking forward to completing our first cycle of Tapestry of Grace and continuing with all of our other curriculums that we've grown to love.  Here's some pictures of our first week!

We're kicking off a study of the early 1900's, beginning with learning about President Theodore Roosevelt.We reviewed our major continents and oceans in geography, and got off to a good start in Latin, science, and writing as well.  We're still finishing up last years math books! : )

My students for the year:

Luke and Kiryn are in the Upper Grammar level of Tapestry this year.  That means they have an increased amount of independent reading for history and worldview studies.  They're finding lots of fun places to get this reading done. 

Our school room needs some organizing still.  I need to get some bookshelves, and plan to go to IKEA in Kansas City after it opens on September 10th!  This is the table area where the big kids do their seat and independent work.  Behind is what will be a play area for the little ones to keep them occupied and in sight while we do our studies.  

Levi loves to spend time building trains.  He can play with his train set for a very long time, which is good for me! : ) 

We also love these fun mosaic tiles.  He wanted me to take these two pictures, because he built this mosaic man to match him in his Incredible suit. They do bear a striking resemblance. 

And of course, when one child has a picture taken, the other must as well. Here's ninja-kimono Meryn.

We wrapped the week up with a salt map, displaying forms of different geographical terms we reviewed this week. Salt maps are always fun!

We had a fun week, and are off to a good start.  We have a new schedule that's working really well for us.  We start at 8:30 (or 9!), with our Bible reading, catechism, and recitation.  We're going through our memory work weekly.  So Mondays we do Bible verses, Tuesday we do multiplication tables, Wednesday is States and capitols, Thursday is Presidents in order.  These are all the things we're memorizing this year (in addition to Latin words, grammar rules, and spelling rules)!  If I can find a good song of the books of the Bible, we'll memorize that as well. All this takes about 30 minutes each morning.  Then the two older kids get busy on their independent work.  They have a weekly rotation for this as well: 
M- Handwriting and Bible verse copy work
T- Geography definitions from TOG copy work
W- Geography Trivium tables from Classical Conversations, and poetry copy work
Th- Beginning Reasoning and Reading workbook
F- McGuffey reader lesson, and sometimes copy a quote or speech of the President we're studying

This keeps the big ones busy for about 30 minutes.  I spend this 30 minutes doing "Letter Time" with the little two.  We drill letter sounds, and play All About Reading Pre-Level games.  We read at least one story book and poem from Mother Goose together.  And sing a silly song or two.  Then I give them a little workbook I got in the Target dollar bins, and that keeps them happy and busy for a bit. 

While the little ones are busy scribbling in their workbooks, I teach writing to Kiryn while Luke does his math.  Then we switch. I teach writing to Luke, while Kiryn does her math.  

Then it's snack time. After snack, we take a break and play outside or ride bikes for awhile. 

Then after break until lunch, which is about one hour, we work on Latin, science, and spelling.  This is my most teacher-intensive hour, so if the little two are going to watch a video, this is the time.  I try to avoid it, but sometimes it becomes necessary.  

After lunch, I put Meryn down for a nap.  Luke and Kiryn take turns reading books to Levi while I'm putting Meryn down for her nap to keep everyone quiet.  While Meryn is sleeping, we spend a good chunk of time reading aloud, and then do all of our Tapestry studies and fine arts.  Luke and Kiryn take turns reading books to Levi while I'm putting Meryn down for her nap to keep everyone quiet.  

We usually finish around 3:30 or 4.  Wild Kratts comes on at 4, so the kids enjoy a little downtime, while I either do dinner prep, or enjoy my own little bit of downtime if dinner's already in the slow cooker. :)  

This is working as well as can be expected for us right now.  We are making it.  I feel like I don't sit down at all during the day, but Father is providing me with enough energy to make it through each day!  A lot of times I'm still very productive in the evenings, able to do laundry, light cleaning, or prepare something I need to do for school the next day.  I can't tell you what a change this is from last year.  Truly, Father has worked a miracle in my life. I was not able to cope or manage my life at all this time last year.  I'm so thankful for the healing He has accomplished in my life in the past few months.  It is enabling me to be much more present for my kids, to engage with them, and actually enjoy being around them.  We had gotten into some bad habits.  

When I was sick, I felt like I had mommy burnout.  I just wanted everyone to sit quietly and leave me alone.  Don't even talk to me about glue and scissors or playdoh.  I avoided everything because I felt so overwhelmed.  I spent waaaay too much time in front of a screen. It was like an addiction, I knew it was destructive, but just couldn't make myself stop.  My relationship with God was nonexistent, and my relationships with most of my kids were terrible.  Thank God for his restoration.  All of this is so different this year.  I feel like we're a team, not enemies like I felt last year.  Father has brought me out of that black hole and is restoring me to the mom he wants me to be.  I'm walking each day clinging to him, praying for continued and consistent healing and restoration, for it to stick.  :)  

Thank you all so much for all your prayers last year.  God has truly brought us both out of the valley, and is renewing our life.  We are so thankful. Everyday is a gift.  The backyard.  Great grandparents stopping by with Skittles.  Sleepovers at grandmas.  Family vacations.  The grocery store.  I find myself feeling so grateful very often.  God has been so good to us, and He has my heart!