Thursday, September 19, 2013

Church life...

Our sweet Seth became a Christian a little over a year ago. It's his story to tell, so I'm not going to share all the details on this blog, but we believe his understanding of Christ and His sacrifice for him is genuine. We see growth in his life and a genuine desire to learn and apply what he's learning. He regularly prays for God's help when he's frustrated or angry or feeling selfish. He's also quite zealous for everyone to know about and love Jesus, as some of our friends and relatives can attest. :) 

In our church, the rising 1st graders have a special day called 1st Grade Bible Day. On that day, they get their very own children's Bible. They're told that they are going to need to carry it to Sunday School and church service. 

The older gentleman in the picture above was Seth's kindergarten Sunday School teacher. We LOVE him. Seth likes to memorize, and he would come home singing the Bible memory songs that Mr. Mancini taught him. One day he started reciting "The Lord's Prayer" in the back seat of the van. I hadn't taught him that, so I asked how he knew it. "Oh, Mr. Mancini taught it to me." He also learned the 10 Commandments and a couple of songs about the books of the Bible. I'm planning to bribe our children's ministry director to get Evan in his class in a couple of years. :) 

David and I serve once a month in a nursery class at church. Our service and Life Class schedules shifted around, and so now we go to service with Seth and then go to Life Class. Our nursery is now during the hour we'd normally go to service, so we needed to figure out what we were going to do with Seth. I asked our children's director if Seth could serve with us on that Sunday, and she was very enthusiastic. I LOVE that our church is so willing to get children involved in helping out... even at 6 years old!

We are in a class of children that are about two years old. There was a decent amount of crying because these are all new classes for the kids. Seth walked over to the chair where David was reading to 2 crying kids. This little girl reached over and grabbed him around the waist and wouldn't let go! Seth felt so important and needed. Eventually David gave up the chair, and he and the little girl sat there, hugging, for at least 20 minutes. Seth would say, "She really likes me, Mommy! I'm helping her feel better!"

We found out later that she has two older brothers. Maybe she just needed a little big brother love... and it was a great introduction to Seth of how he can serve children younger than he is.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

When your science plans go awry...

So I had this grand plan for easy science this year. I'd bought a book from Queen Homeschool, and I thought that "Our Animal Friends" would be an easy way to learn about various animals without me having to trek to the library over and over on weeks when I'd rather focus on other things.

I thought that this was a simple Charlotte Mason style notebook where we'd read a story about a little girl visiting her veterinarian uncle, and he'd tell her stories about the animals that were chock full of facts about the animals. I thought that we'd use the facts in the stories to answer the questions and do the worksheets that followed each story.

I bought the book in May. I sat down to look at it in more detail a couple of nights ago. I discovered with horror that 98% of the answers to the questions asked in the book were not included in the story. And suggestions of books or websites where I could find the answers to these questions were also not included. And this is supposed to be for elementary students? Crazy town. I am angry that I didn't look more closely at the book fair. I couldn't imagine that anyone would possibly create something for elementary students that would require that much research with that little guidance. I was wrong. So I lost my basic science plan for the year. Gahhh!

I panicked for a bit, and I started frantically hunting the internet for alternatives. And then I remembered that this is a Peace Hill Press kinda year. Most of my social studies materials and my reading curriculum are by either a Wise or a Bauer or both, so I might as well give her a chance to weigh in here.

All I really wanted was some guidance for good children's books and experiments to do with my 1st grader and my 4-year-old... an outline, if you will. I found part of this at Little Otter's Science. This will give me the reading lists and science experiments for learning about the human body, along with some links to printables.

Then I pulled out my copy of "The Well Trained Mind." On p. 161, I found a simple science plan for first grade. She recommends picking about 20 animals to study and just reading books about them and answering questions to get used to using the scientific method. I typed up all the questions in a 1 page document, and I printed out multiple copies. Now we can read and answer questions, and that will cover science on a basic level. If we discover a neat animal outside, I can use one of these sheets as well. They can draw a picture of the animal, and we're done.

The way that the classical educators do science makes sense to me. They want to link history and science somewhat. For the ancient history year, you study the human body, animals, and plants in science because those were things that the ancients could see and were learning about. Next year, we're supposed to learn astronomy because medieval scientists were learning a lot about those. It's interesting, and its not the way I learned science. I'm wondering if the boys will notice the link if I do it this way. But even if they don't, it gives me a broad outline to follow to try and cover the basics, and I do like that.

Science crisis averted. :)

Thursday, September 05, 2013

taking it all together...

We've had some lovely moments this first week of school. We've also had some ugly ones. I've got to take it all together, because that's what life is, a mixture of the hard and the beautiful and the beautifully hard.

From the good and lovely files:

- Boys laughing over Pippi Longstocking. And a mommy who stopped barking at her boys long enough to laugh with them.

- Seth and Evan wanting to do extra on their history work. Seth wanted to label and catalog his dig finds, and Evan wanted to draw his own family tree for this year's Wonder Book.

- Beautiful memory retention. Seth told Daddy about his timeline at dinner, and he actually remembered the word. I know he's heard the word "timeline" about twice in his life, and both of those times were earlier in the day. I need to remember this for the many times he can't remember what we did that day at all.

- "Daddy, I didn't even need to use my 2 complaints during my reading lesson!" (He gets 2. Reading is hard, but I'm not going to let him complain and whine through the whole thing. Grace based parenting? :)

From the frustrating files:

- A bad outbreak of plantar fasciitis that's had me hobbling around and drove me to the store last night for orthotic inserts and better shoes.

- Some crabbiness for all with the upheaval of schedule changes.

- Ben acting out more because he's not getting as much attention, and when that ends with 2 bookshelves worth of books on the floor, Mommy wants to cry. (The picture above is of another set of bookshelves that he emptied during naptime because of unfortunate pack n' play placement.)

- Haven't been able to wear my contacts for about a month now, and I would really prefer my glasses. My eyes sting, burn, and weep. And the allergist said I don't have allergies. Sure. Right.

This blog doesn't make my life look like nothing but peaches and cream. It never has. So I just gave you a plate of brussels sprouts with the dessert. You're welcome. :)

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Beginning ancients...

We're beginning "Story of the World- Ancients" this week. The introduction explains how historians learn about what happens in the past, and of course, one of those very important ways is through archaeological digs. I read the chapter from the book and asked the narration questions yesterday.

Today, we read "Archaeologists Dig for Clues," and then we headed out for our very own dig. (This dig had been set up by their teacher the night before in a local friend's sandbox, but they didn't know that. :) They were soooo excited. We noted that the sandbox was a square grid, just like archaeologist's use. We had a sieve and 2 shovels. And a toddler that ran off a few times.

"Look, Mommy! It's a noodle!" "What does that tell us about this people?" "They ate noodles!" "What did they eat with?" "This fork!"

We took a box to put our artifacts and "midden" (ancient garbage) in, and Seth helped me catalog each item when we got it home.

Then we watched the archaeology episode from "The Magic Schoolbus" called "Show and Tell" before moving on to regular work.

I'm so glad they enjoyed this. Although Seth did say, "Mommy, did you bury that stuff in the sandbox?" as we were leaving. He said he was disappointed that it wasn't real, and we talked about why it couldn't be real, and he cheered up after that.

He also said, "Mommy, I love school! I want to do school all day long, Mommy!" Yay for the 2nd day of school! It's only going to get more boring from here out, most likely, but we might as well start off with a bang. :)

1st day...