Monday, November 18, 2013

Timelines and Family Genealogy (Weaver Volume One, Unit 3, Chapter 4)

I was a little sad to wrap up Chapter 4 a little over a week ago. It's shocking, actually. When I first looked over the material, I told Bill I wanted to just skip the whole chapter because it sounded like a big waste of time. I like to go into detail with lessons, and the thought of trying to put all of world's history into timeline format, and then present it over a two to three week period sounded impossible. Bible, US, world, and family timeline all in one chapter? How is that even possible? I looked up Weaver reviews online and realized that this is the chapter when a lot of families abandon Weaver over the same feelings I was having. Families were frustrated at trying to breeze through US history in just a couple weeks. (US History is covered in detail in Volume Two of Weaver, if I understand correctly.) Bill looked over the material and had no idea why I was so against this chapter. He said that it should be the easiest unit yet. I was basically teaching them the concept of time, and that history is a record of events on a timeline. I was still unsure of this unit, but liked the idea of the Family memory book in the lesson plans, so I decided not to skip Chapter 4 after all. It ended up being one of my favorite units so far.

For this unit, I bought two used books online with great reviews. One of them is Adams Synchronological Chart or Map of History.

 I was shocked when this one arrived on my doorstep. It's HUMONGOUS. I love it, love it, love it. The pages fold out accordion style- up to 25 feet. You can also flip through it like a book, and only fold out pages you want to look at.  It is so very detailed- it's really awesome to see events of the Bible on a timeline like this. I sometimes run Old Testament stories in my mind back to back, forgetting that hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of years separate events.

I also bought a world history timeline book, The Wall Chart of World History published by Barnes and Noble. It folds out accordion style also. 

The kids loved filling in dates on the Biblical timeline. We plan to keep up with it throughout their Bible lessons, adding to it as we go along in their school years.

We also started a US history timeline. We mainly studied the Mayflower voyage, George Washington's life, the writing of the Constitution, and the history of the Star Spangled Banner. The point wasn't to give a detailed US history, but to give the concept that certain events in time built our country.

My mom's hobby is genealogy, so she went over family history with them during an overnight stay, including stories passed down through the generations. Creative writing revolved around their own memories of childhood, and why their family is special to them. Final copies will be put into a binder (I haven't actually got around to do that yet.) We had fun looking through their baby scrapbooks, teaching them that they have their own history. Bible lessons pointed to God's plan for mankind that He is carrying to completion. 

I have to confess- usually when I read verses in the Bible with genealogy, I tend to gloss over long names I can't pronounce and quickly move on. This chapter forced me to look at those names and realize that family is important to God-He felt it necessary to have those names included in His Word. I am really glad Bill talked me out of skipping this unit!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sound and Language Unit Wrap up: Weaver Volume One, Unit Two

So we've been living and tweaking this homeschooling lifestyle for several more weeks now. It is hard, and time consuming, and sometimes messy. And yet, I have zero regrets of pulling my children out of the public system. Homeschooling has been incredibly rewarding, and our unity as a family has soared. I am more patient- not perfect - but God in His grace has equipped me to work this life for our family. There are times I forget, and freeze in a panic over the sheer responsibility of it all- but when I go to Him in prayer and ask for His peace, He always delivers. 

In my last homeschooling post, we had just completed our first week in Unit Two of Weaver's Volume One. For the remainder of our Sound and Language unit, one of the science topics I taught was the anatomy and physiology of the ear. Considering my former career as a Physician Assistant, I was tucked inside my cozy element. My five year old can recite to you the anatomy of the outer, middle, and inner ear, and my heart just melts in joy. My kids are in for a blast when we get to the human body unit! I'm a tiny bit nerd obsessed with all things medical.

We also covered how sound works, and took a crazy fun field trip to the Clay Center in Charleston, WV. Their children's museum has an entire exhibit on light and sound, and we were able to expand so much of our unit in just a couple hours. The pictures would have been amazing from that trip. However- I left my camera at home, and my phone with all my pictures was killed in coffee. Still in mourning, as you can tell.

We took another field trip during this unit to the Pittsburgh Zoo. It was perfect weather with no crowds at all. We had learned about animals with ultrasonic and infrasonic hearing, so I was able to tie it all in during the trip.

I can't remember what animal Lydia was so excited about. Three year olds inside zoos are the most fun ever.

She was telling me how small, cute, and tiny those baby lions were. Yes, those grown, male African lions over there. Every giant, ferocious animal we saw was so tiny and cute to her.

Madeline hugging the statue boy, pretending he was her prince. 

Lydia finally braved the big slide this time. "I did it!"

 Our verse of the week was from James- "Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!" James 3:5 Our Bible lessons also covered how our words are to bring praise to God, and we are to let our lights shine for Him in the darkness. We learned how feelings can be communicated without any words, and played a game to illustrate. 

 Isaac demonstrating anger. Can't you tell?

Brooke demonstrating happy. I was really trying to hold it together during this game. 

And this is Madeline communicating anger. 

Lydia was just happy to be there.

Isaac yelling out his guesses of the crystal clear emotions written on his sisters' faces. 

Lydia loves doing her schoolwork now. Her material is Horizons Preschool for Threes Workbook. It's completely voluntary on her part. I encourage her when she wants to participate, and I put it away when she doesn't want to.  

I sold Discovery Toys several years ago, and this is a math game I bought back then.They love playing it.

Bill's recent birthday celebration. Love this man.

I have so many friends and family tell me what an awesome thing it is we are doing, but they could never do it- usually saying they lack the needed patience. If only they could peek inside my imperfect, often fear-stricken brain! If God's calling your family to homeschooling, and you say to yourself that you can't do it, just look at who God called in His Word. He didn't call those who had all the answers and a plan from the beginning. He raised up a scrawny shepherd kid to become King of Israel, a scared man with a speech impediment to lead His children out of captivity, a young girl of no significance by world's standards to mother the Son of God. He equips those He calls. I'm telling you- when God calls you, it is so safe to follow where He leads. Steps of faith bring huge reward. Whatever He is calling you to do, say yes to Him!