Friday, August 30, 2013

Sugar Cube Houses- Day 5 (Vol 1, Unit 1, Chapter 1 Weaver)

We were back to a normal schedule today. We started a new Bible lesson on Luke 14, the cost of building and the cost of discipleship.

We used sugar cubes for the Bible illustration. They were given 20 cubes and told to glue together a house.

Lydia had her own cubes and glue.

Building one wall. Only two cubes left.

 Their disappointed, pouty faces when I told them they ran out of cubes and had to stop building. Isaac was devastated.

Lydia was cool with it. She made a tower!

But wait! There's more! Now we realize that we have to calculate the cost and gather the materials we need. They had another chance to build, but this time with a better plan!

While they were building, I read portions from the book City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction by David Macaulay. We also talked about the cost of following Jesus, and what it means to die to self. I made sure to emphasize that even though we give up a lot of this world to follow Jesus, the reward and joy we receive in return is so much greater!

Fridays are planned out to be a big review day. Today while asking history and science questions from previous lessons, they would forget answers at times and need prompted. In the middle of this, I experienced my first panicky moments of "Am I doing this right? Am I doing a good job? Are they absorbing any of this? Am I screwing them up for life??" I'd expected these thoughts to come eventually, and I remembered each time to stop and pray as soon as the panic came. I know we are doing what God called us to do, and He's guiding us each day.

This weekend we're taking our first official field trip to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. One week in, and we are loving this homeschooling life!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Celebration Thursday- Day 4 (Vol 1, Unit 1, Chapter 1 Weaver)

Want to know one of the best parts of homeschooling? Birthdays are holidays! My kids won't get snow days, so this will help to make up for that. They still completed their math, penmanship, creative writing, and reading assignments, so I'm going ahead and counting today as an official school day. Tomorrow we're back to a regular schedule!

The birthday girl!

I just like her expression here.

 We slept in and went to Chick Fil A for a late breakfast. I like Madeline's birthday choices.

Madeline read library books most of the afternoon, and then turned our living room into a ballroom. Brooke wasn't happy being the boy, but Isaac wouldn't have anything to do with it.

Lydia dizzy from twirling.

Words that describe Madeline: reader, dreamer, witty, inquisitive, wise, joyful, ponderous, leisurely, comedian. She opens her Bible several times a day- and not because I ask her to. She loves Jesus with all her heart, and it spills out in what she says and does. She can talk to anybody, anywhere- whether a five year old girl or an eighty year old man. A few weeks ago we were helping to serve a meal at a local mission, and she kept an eye out for another kid she could talk to. A little girl came in to eat with her grandma, and Madeline walked across the room to go sit with her. They chatted about Hello Kitty and her bff necklace. It was hard not to cry watching her. Here I am as a mother praying for God to show me how to reach out to a hurting world, and my six year old is living it out right in front of my eyes. I learn so much from her big heart. She slows the world down, taking it all it in. She finds the beauty in everything, even a rainbow reflecting off of a oily mud puddle. 

God surprised us with a pregnancy seven years and nine months ago. I was scared to death, unprepared, and incredibly excited. God gave us this precious little girl when we weren't even looking for her, and we couldn't be more blessed. She's perfect for us- our Madeline! Happy birthday baby girl.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A House Built on the Rock- Day 3 (Vol 1, Unit 1, Chapter 1 Weaver)

We covered a new Bible lesson today from the book of Matthew, the parable of the house built on a rock and the house built on sand. 

Looking up Matthew 7. There are so many reasons why I love this picture.

After reading the parable, I gave them an illustration to better remember and understand the story.  Last night I glued a paper house to a cement block to represent the foundation on rock. We didn't have a bag of play sand, so Brooke scooped up some dirt for me to represent the less firm foundation.

Blowing over the house on "sand".

Trying to blow over the house on a rock. 

We discussed why both physical and spiritual foundations are so important, and then changed the topic over to the layers of the earth. I gave them three different colors of modeling clay, and they shaped each layer. Yellow for the earth's core, red for the mantle, and blue for the crust.

Model earths!

We then sliced each model earth in half with my cake level.

She was in awe. Too cute.

Lydia cut her earth model into about ten different pieces.

Is he handsome or what?


This is her last day as a six year old. Craziness.

Some of today's notes.

We ended the day with a trip to the local library. We came home with several armloads of books, including two about Martin Luther King Jr. I wanted to honor the 50th anniversary of his great speech, so we read about his life and the legacy he left behind.The girls are in the school room writing about his life and speech in their creative writing journals as I finish up this blog post. 

Another great day under wraps. I'm still working on finding the right schedule. Last night I had a list of assignments for the girls to work on until I was ready to start teaching. Brooke and Madeline have been early birds lately, so they were able to work on their math, spelling, and penmanship while I was busy getting ready for the day. Isaac gets his reading lessons in the evening, because that's when he usually had them before school started. His math gets fit in whenever he's ready to sit still for a few minutes. He's constantly on the move and I'm trying not to be bothered by it. He soaks it all in though- I think he's not listening to me at all, and then all of a sudden he yells out an answer. Funny how that works. I'm really trying to stay flexible. It's all brand new territory- but we must be in a honeymoon period, because I still have the happy feelings nonstop.So far we're taking it in one day at a time.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Babylonian Soil: Day 2 (Vol 1, Unit 1, Chapter 1 Weaver)

Today was science day!

 I like to write out the objectives on the chalkboard so that the kids know the plan, and so that I can be reminded of what we need to accomplish. 

We quickly reviewed the Tower of Babel and Sumerian culture, then learned about the city of Babylon. I'm such a nerd- I'm having way too much fun teaching them ancient history. We learned about Babylonian rulers including Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar. Hammurabi wrote down barbaric laws called the Code of Hammurabi. One of them mandated that a surgeon's hand be cut off if his patient died. Much later in Babylonian history came along King Nebuchadnezzar, the same king in the book of Daniel. He built the beautiful blue Gate of Ishtar, and rebuilt the seven level ziggurat that's believed to be the same temple as in Genesis 11. We watched a YouTube video that showed a recreation of the huge wall and gate.

After history, it was time for our science walk. They each had a bucket and shovel, and we went out to collect soil samples.

Isaac was so proud that he picked out his own outfit. I was proud for him, and also glad we are homeschooling so that I didn't have to make him change.

With our samples in hand, we talked about what soil is made of, and what defines each type of soil. We also discussed the three categories of rock. Last week we went to dinner hosted by friends of ours from church. He's a geologist with a private rock and mineral collection that would take your breath away. It was like being inside of a museum. He gave a little lesson to the kids that night, which made today's lesson so much easier.

Observing the different soil samples with a magnifying glass, and then classifying them.

Writing their observations in their science journals.

Meanwhile in the next room... She is so quiet during homeschool. She's in and out of the school room at her leisure, so who knows what all she's absorbing. I bought her Horizons curriculum for three year olds, but she's not interested in the worksheets, and I'm not pushing it.

His favorite part of the day- being told he has to play with dirt. Ha!

After classifying the types of soil, we made a posterboard.

Tacky glue fun.

She didn't want to stop gluing things.

Finished product.

We conducted an experiment using sediments in a jar of water. The girls each came up with an hypothesis of what types of soil would sink first and last. They then recorded the results after observing the experiment. 
Conclusions: 1. My kids love our new school. 2. I am a nerd who loves history and science, and I am so ready to do it all again tomorrow!