Life is about attitude and to have a good one is important. I am Ann and I am blessed with a husband that God chose for me, children that did not come 'easy' to our family due to me being a cancer survivor and the resulting infertility, blessed with family and true friends, blessed being a stay-at-home mom, and blessed to be a beloved child of God. This blog is about the miracles that God gave into our care as parents, the adventures of homeschooling those blessings, and our life in general.
At PE class, the kids got to play with this huge parachute today. They had so much fun and came back quite sweaty, which means they also got a good workout. When I went into the gym to take a picture, I was followed by my little munchkin. She just copied me shooting a picture with her phone. She is such a silly cutie.
My friend came to visit me today and because she home schools as well, our chatting resolved a lot about what curriculum we each use. Her kids are a bit younger, so she hadn't heard much about certain curricula. I had lend her the Story of the World books and she loved them. But then she also wanted to know about Apologia and other stuff I am using. We had a great time exchanging thoughts about what works and what does not. And I got a few recommendations about reading books from her. Now an Amazon order is due - lol.
I bought this book a while back when I was not sure which science curriculum I would use. I liked the idea of learning by playing. So in this book, there are several sets of matching card games across all of science. It covers animals, moon phases, habitats, and, as you see, adaptations. You play it just like a normal matching game, just that here, the picture has to match a certain text that explains what the student it suppose to learn. For instance, that the geese migrate to the south, that the snakes makes a sound to protect from predators, or that the walking stick can blend in with it's environment (aka camouflage).
It's a fun way to repeat and/or learn more about general science. We play it once in a while and have not used all the sets yet, so we are stretching the book a bit. Wonderful resource.
So besides history being his favorite subject, Coqui is also quite talented in geography. He just has a GPS in his brain. I am constantly amazed by what he already knows. He's got a very good feeling to where things are on the globe.
So today he grabbed the Complete Book of Maps and Geography for grades Three to Six, all on his own. Then he got himself the globe and started working on a page. Mind you, I was not even in the room when all this happened, and it does not happen very often that he starts working on his own. So when I saw this picture, my heart swell with pride..... some things just seem to work out eventually.
Today, we learned about the joy of giving. Coqui had long outgrown these train toys and for a while, I had hoped one of his sisters would start liking them. But nope, they are girls and just not that much into trains. So we decided to make a little friend very happy. He loves trains just as much as Coqui used to - and I kind of miss those days - so he will ecstatic once he sees them tomorrow.
I am sure some of you can relate when I say that when you have kids, 'stuff' miraculously accumulates over the years. So we decided that it was time to give some of that 'stuff' to new owners. So I got up early in the morning to set up for a garage sale. One by one, we were joined by these little helpers who enjoyed sitting outside in the shade, watching the people stop by. We did not sell much but that is okay, we will try again. It was just a different kind of family quality time.
And we did learn that we can give up some of our 'stuff' (aka blessings) to bless someone else. And we talked about how to make a price that will sell, kind of like demand and supply.
It's that time of the week again: field trip day. We had to get up early to be on the road and get to this amazing science museum. It was pretty much an all day trip that was so exhausting, but so fun. Once we got there, we saw a 3D movie. I can't remember my last time but it is many, many years ago, and only once. So this was exciting for me, but the kids loved the movie as well.
Then we got a tour of the museum to get an overview of what is there and how it works. Then we had an early lunch. After we had 'classes' where the kids were challenged to accomplish different tasks in science and engineering, like classifying animals, building a structure that withstands an earthquake, and partake in a study of identifying other planets. At the end, we were able to roam around the museum and try out everything in sight.
What a great trip and oh so educational. The kids had a blast learning and touching and seeing. I love our group so much. They have become my friends and the kids' friends, and we are doing this thing called homeschooling together. It makes it easier and funner. Once again, we are so blessed to be surrounded by like-minded people that we call friends.
We needed a day where the kids could just go free range about the house and I could clean up after our visitors. The built train tracks, dressed up in all kinds of costumes, and then Coqui came over to show me an experiment that he made up himself. He even dressed for the occasion.
The explanation goes something like this: the two cups represent an indefinite amount of people and if the Christian people (yellow cup) talk about Jesus to the other (non-believing) people, the amount of believing people will overflow just like the water did in the cup. Wow.
I didn't know that my child is such an evangelist, but go Coqui! That was awesome to watch and hear. Very proud Mami moment.
Our bible club is nearing it's end of the school year, so in these last weeks the kids have to work extra hard to finish their books. Here is Coqui trying his utmost best to get to the end - and trust me, it will be a very close call. I am just amazed at how many verses a kid can remember when it is hard for me as an adult to remember one single one, like my favorite verse. But their brains are like magnets to information and they soak it all in. This is just one reason why we are participating in this club, that the children hear God's word constantly, so they have it ready in their hearts when life will get rough. And it will.
We had a good day at home with tons of outdoor playing. After dinner, we went out for ice cream and once back home, we had a bath. This is what happened right after. I love days when they are so close and get along so well. Truly being blessed today with these three little ones.
The Romans are seriously taking over...... Coqui just loves history and any hands-on activity that makes it come alive. The Easter bunny brought this cool building set. The 'bricks' are made of Styrofoam so one can cut them or squeeze them easily. We built this Colosseum together. As recommended, we started using the Styrofoam glue but it took too long to dry one section of the structure, so we moved to the hot glue gun. That worked a lot faster and we could finish it today.
I mentioned yesterday that my parents are in town, so we took off today on a road trip. The kids had a blast discovering and rediscovering new and old places. It was a very warm day, but you can see that Munchkin kept cool on Mama's back with a big hat....
Today's field trip brought us to a race track and we all enjoyed it very much. My brother even came along as he is visiting from Germany with my parents - hence my delay in putting up these pictures.
These girls were the sweetest thing ever. They found each other and held hands most of the trip when walking from building to building. I love that my kids can make friends with other homeschooling families and maybe create bonds for the rest of their lives. It was a tiring but fabulous trip.
Peanut was introduced to Reading Comprehension today. I mean she listens to stories and can summarize them, but she never had to actually sit through a story that required her to draw pictures of the story and to answer questions afterwards. She enjoyed the drawing part but she did not so much the writing part answering those questions. She is my little artist.
The story came from this big workbook that I used for Coqui's first grade curriculum. A few pages are still unused and I am trying to finish the book with her.
Abeka's homeschool curriculum seems to put a big emphasis on penmanship. When we bought the entire box for the second grade, we received two penmanship books. Coqui was just starting, so we followed the teacher's manual at first just to realize that every day's workload was way too much. We cut it down significantly, and never finished the book.
But I liked their third grade book as well, so we bought the Cursive Writing Skillbook and added it to this year's curriculum. Last year, we worked through the first part of the book. Coqui learned about one animal in each lesson. He had copy some facts and then answer a question. He loved it and it covered some science for us.
This year, we moved to the second part which is more geography related. He learned about the territories of Canada and is now working on the fifty states of America. A state a day - so to speak. He finds out about it's capital, it's state bird, and state plant. Above, he is studying the state of Indiana, then finds it on the map and I also test him on the states learned in the days prior to today.
At the end of the lesson, he also copies some quotations or verses for character building. Each lesson focuses on the different character, like trustworthiness or kindness. I love this book.
We continued our Ancient Rome study using The Story of the World books. Today, I finally sewed the costumes. I used our Ancient Greek costumes and simply had to add a purple ribbon to the toga which once was a himation. Coqui loved being a senator and really enjoyed 'ordering' his sisters around. He is a leader for sure.
Last time, when I ordered some roller bottles for my essential oils, I forgot that they needed to be colored, so the oils are more protected from the sun. What is a girl to do? I used some duct tape.Now those bottles are more colorful then just blue or green, and they have character. Actually, I had fun making it.
What is my DiGize mix?
It is simply DiGize (which is a pre-made Young Living blend) and Peppermint with a carrier oil. The DiGize helps with digestive issues such as indigestion, heart burn, constipation, bloating, and stomach cramps. It is such a must-have oil in our family. Peppermint supports normal digestion and it smells amazing. So for the kids, I like to use both oils together. It helps with their occasional stomach 'hurts' and constipation.
After church, our Sundays are usually pretty lazy. I love when I see the kids play with each other all afternoon. I caught them digging through their Easter gifts. They found a castle that needed some decoration with stickers, so here they are working hard..... The weekends pass always way too quickly.
We love board games in our family. It is a great teaching tool, and it provides quality family time.
So it should not surprise my readers that we have yet another games to share with you. It's name is Carcassonne by Rio Grande Games. This is a building game with 'small' tiles, almost like a puzzle that will look different each and every time. Carcassonne was a famous Roman medieval fortification in Southern France.
In building with those tiles, one develops the area around Carcassonne
and collects points in order to win the game. The players lay one tile each turn expanding the game area, building a landscape full of cities, roads, fields, and cloisters.
The Easter bunny just brought an addition to the basic game. The Inns and Cathedrals expansion adds a sixth player to the basic game. And it also lets you collect more points by adding a cathedral to the cities and an inn to a roads. The kids had lots of fun teaching this game to Opa (aka my Dad).
My parents and brother came for a visit from Germany. So we will take this opportunity to learn more German.
You know from my previous posts (German Lessons and German Vocabulary) that we have been studying German for a while now. I am totally against 'forcing' them to learn it - as this was done to me as a kid and I learned absolutely nothing! So I want to find a balance between guiding them into a direction and pushing them a little bit for their own good. After all, it has been proven many times how beneficial foreign languages are.
So besides speaking it here and there with our visitors, Coqui remembered that there was an app called Duolingo. It is a free program that teaches many different foreign languages. You can use it for the computer or laptop as well as other devices like phones or ipads. Coqui is learning German and I am actually learning some Italian - something that has been on my wishlist for a while.
We love this program. It teaches vocabulary through repetition and Grammar through games. One progresses through the lessons by practicing translating back and forth, by dictating or rather writing what was said, and by filling in the blanks. In both languages! For example, at some point, the program has you listen to a sentence in the foreign language and you have to write that down, and next time, you have to translate it into English. In the next task, one has to repeat the foreign sentence which is done by recording it on the device.
The success of the learning is seen pretty instantly. It is an easy way to practice it without laving a native speaker in your circle of friends. And the lessons are quick, so one can easily fit it onto a busy schedule. Wonderful program.
We went to our PE class today, which the kids and their friends still enjoy thoroughly. This is an activity they are looking forward to every week.
But apparently, they did not have enough exercise today, so they asked to go to the playground with their friends. I love that we can be so flexible. So we ended up on an adventure playground which was perfect for the big kids. But my Munchkin missed the slides and swings, she was a bit disappointed. She entertained herself with climbing those 'poles' up and down, but after a while it was boring and she became clingy. The big kids on the other hand had a blast playing in spider webs, climbing through hoops and tunnels, and hang from all kind of bars.
Recently, I picked up the above DVD of Liberty Kids. I had seen it before but never saw those in a store. When I first suggested watching it, my kids were like: "No, thank you. We are not interested in an educational TV program." I insisted on a history lesson via the screen and within minutes of starting it, my kids were glued to it. Every day since, my Coqui asks for those movies instead of their usual kids' shows. A winner!
The Liberty Kids is a fictional cartoon that teaches about the origins of American history, something that I am not that familiar with myself. There are five main characters: Ben who is Benjamin Franklin, and four made-up people that help bring those stories come to life. Besides Mr. Franklin, there are a ton of other historical characters in different episodes. The first one started with Boston's Tea Party and the last will be about the Philadelphia Convention.
I am glad that my kids will be introduced to their American history in such a fun way. And I can't wait until we study it all in class in more depth.
Coqui always claims that he doesn't like Math, but that is only because he doesn't like to repeat the same old problems over and over. I totally get it because if you are lucky to get Math than those repetitions are tedious and annoying. I make him do it anyways, at least to an extend. He has to prove to me with two problems that he understands what he is doing and I let him 'get off the hook'.
Yesterday, he had a 'bad' chapter test which made me realize, maybe he did not understood it as well as he claimed. And by 'bad' test, I mean it was a 72 which is not normal to him. So I got the book out and our Math manipulative, the only once we have because he usually doesn't need them. And I explained away. We had fun with those little fraction pieces. And it wasn't the fraction part he didn't get, it was the conversion into decimal numbers. At the end, he mastered it and I think he will get a better test next time. Proud of my boy.
In case you are wondering, we are using a mix of Math books. We had been using Abeka for years and finally had enough of the drills, so we switched to BJU, Bob Jones University, just to realize that they are 'behind'. We are in the process of testing him for Teaching Textbooks, so far he has surpassed even my expectations, which means that they are 'behind', too. Looking for a better fit for us can be tiring but I want the best for him. He needs the challenge, even if he doesn't like the 'work'. So after those tests, we will test him for Singapore Math. They are known to be 'advanced', so I have a feeling that we will end up using that.
We continued our studies from The Story of the World curriculum. It was great that we learned about the beginning of Christianity today, which was a brief summary of Jesus' life actually. We heard the story about His birth, His life, and then his death and resurrection. There couldn't have been a better time frame for this lesson with Easter being yesterday. The kids loved coloring the four stages of His life. We then talked about the geography of Israel a bit. This was followed by a discussion about the different names of Jesus, like the Truth, or the Light, or the Shepard, or the Vine. It was a good day.
In Latin, we even studied an entire sentence about Jesus' life. It was a good wrap up about this weekend. I did not plan it this way, it just came together like this and I love it.
This bunny showed up just at the right time. Right after I showed the kids the bunny, one of them found an egg in the house. Oh my, the commotion! But now they believe that they have seen the Easter bunny. I am not telling them.....
Every year, our Church put on an Easter celebration with tons of fun for the kids in our church and our community. There are little games, bounce houses, rides, and we even had a laser tag this year. It's a big production and the kids are looking forward to it. We had fun and Peanut even let them do a face painting on her - something my kids have not enjoyed in the past. She was quite proud of the butterfly and wore it all day. Happy Easter.
We celebrated today's day by not having an official school day, by playing with friends in the park in the morning, and by having a dinner celebration with friends. The kids had their own table (and so did the adults - hallelujah!). So they all dressed up nicely. I love when these kids do their own prayers in their sweet little voices, it's so precious. We had a fantastic time worshiping and eating. Thank you, friends, for having us over.
And thank you, Jesus, for going on that cross knowingly what would happen to you. Thank you, God, for your almighty power conquering death and giving us the gift of eternal life. It was a sad day so many thousands of years ago, but in just three days, we will celebrate even more because of Jesus' resurrection. Praise the Lord.
We love our PE class. Every week, the kids learn new games, and play old ones. Today, all their team work skills were being developed with this fun game. They had to 'run' races with each other. And when I say 'run' I mean it took them a lot of effort and time to get from place A to place B. It was not at all easy to coordinate their steps. There was some falling down and lots of laughter. They had a blast and came out all sweaty.
I have not shared with the kids that I am photo-journaling about their homeschooling for a year, but they must have got on on their own. Peanut wanted me to take pictures of her work today.
On the left is today's page from the Explode the Code. We are on book 1 1/2 and she is catching on with the words. After finishing the first book on the series, I felt she was not ready for the second book. So there is a book in the middle, hence it's called 1 1/2. It is a great way of repeating everything from the first book without doing the same exercise. She wrote today's page all by herself without asking a million times for Mami's help. So yeah, I feel like we are getting where we need to go.
On the right side, you see a page from her Math book. We started with Horizon grade 1 but after twenty lessons, we hit a point that was too hard for her. So I needed to go back a little and buy her a different Math book. I know that Singapore Math is a little advanced, so I opted for the B book, which means for the second part of Kindergarten. She flew through the book and tomorrow will be her last day, then the book is completed. We will go back to Horizon and if that still doesn't work, I might just have to switch to Singapore altogether.
For today, she understood counting by 2s so well, that I had to give her a 'grade' for it. Just a few months ago, I was pulling my hairs out because she did not get the concept of skip counting. We had to drop it and now that we came back to it, she totally got it. This is why homeschooling works so much better! We can drop things if they don't work. We can skip ahead or go back, all depending on what the student needs. We would not want it any other way.