Friday, September 30, 2011

MFW-ECC - Week 9 - Brazil - Free Rainforest & Brazil Lapbooks

Our Week in Review


The song Brown Girl in the Ring was eerily familiar to an episode of the "Wiggles" show my kids used to watch over and over and over. 
The Global Art activity (Carnival Dancers) on page 157 turned out to be a BIG hit. We did things a bit differently though. 1)The wire form the book called for was quite pliable...a little too pliable and the figure kept distroting into a crumpled mess. 2)I could not find the carpet thread the book mentioned, but I did have a ton of the colored wire. 

So, I hot-glued together popsicle sticks in the shape of a person instead. 

Then, we used the pliable colored wire to wrap the popsicle sticks.
A styrofoam head was added and our Carnival Dancers were complete :)  

A was the one one who ventured out to make clothes and hair for her dancer. She and I spent quite a bit of time drawing and cutting out clothing while the boys were at band practice.  


Kiddos took turns reading pages 96-97 in the Living World book and then located and colored the various rain forests around the world on their notebook pages. 

I pretty much read all of pages 45-47 in Properties of Ecosystems. It was all very interesting, and for the most part, on their level this time. We learned about chicle (which is used to make chewing gum) and thought the brand 'Chiclets' gum sounded a lot like that. Well...guess what? That is exactly where the name 'Chiclets' came from ;) 

The kids were fascinated with spider monkeys and Banyan trees, which were mentioned in the reading. So we took some extra time to look up info and pictures about those on the internet in leu of the blue box 'researching rainforest animals' activity. Quite interesting! 

We completed the greenhouse experiment, although, it will still be a little while before we start to see any results.

Kiddos took turns reading pages 98-99 of Living World. After that, we completed our terrarium. The kids had a blast hunting through the woods finding various plants to use...AND...the rain was just what we needed to cool things off :)

Click here to get some great ideas from Family Fun on how to make your own terrarium.


The flight to South America (namely Brazil) departed at 10am. We almost left behind one of our passengers because she was late boarding the plane. LOL! Passports were stamped and Flags of the World sticker books were updated. We also looked over pages 68-71 in the Classroom Atlas book
Once again, the crossword puzzle was a big hit and the kiddos completed that while I read over the interesting facts on pages 13-14 of A Trip Around the World.

The South America part of the geography game was MUCH easier to put together this time around. It was so nice not having to clip and snip all those little square markers :) 


We are *loving* Nate Saint. So interesting! It is awesome to see how events from Cameron Townsend's story overlap with Nate Saint's story. The kids totally picked up on it too :-D 


Because we are spending the next 2 weeks learning about rainforests, I thought the kids would have some time to work on a simplified version of this free rainforest lapbook (example below). This week, we printed out various pictures and the kiddos began coloring them. They will work on this over the next 2 weeks, cut them out, and glue them all together. I'll post pictures of the final outcome in 2 weeks :) 

I'm not sure we'll have time to complete the free Brazil lapbook, but here it is (example below) in case you are interested :)

Ahhh, it's nice to have a week every now and again when it feels like you've actually accomplished something and had lots of fun while doing it!

(This post has been linked up at Discover Their Gifts and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers)

Friday, September 23, 2011

MFW-ECC - Week 8 - Canada - Preread Science ;)

Our Week in Review

Science will definitely want to preread Living World pages 16&17 as suggested in the MFW manual. I homeschool very inquisitive 7, 8, & 9 year olds and I knew if I covered everything listed and pictured on those pages, there would be more questions to follow...questions I am not ready to tackle yet... :-P
So, we started out by talking about how plants reproduce (seeds, pollination) and then I let them lead out the next part of the conversation by asking them, "How do animals have babies?" We talked about the chicken/duck laying eggs, the spider and her egg sac, the frog laying eggs in water, and the goat/horse/dog/cat (and even humans) growing babies in their bellies. We also talked about how it was God's design (waaay back to Adam and Eve) to create males and females and that, wether we are talking about ducks, frogs, horses, or humans, have to have a male and a female (or a man and a woman) to have a baby. So far so good...Whew! Moving right along before any difficult questions popped!  
I know there will be a time when the Lord leads us to talk about these things in more detail with our children and I know, when that time comes, He'll give my husband and I the right words to say, but this week was not that week :)

The Celery experiment went well. The kids actually had a lot of fun trying to peel out all the xylem tubes...and they really did look like tiny little tubes! After setting up the experiment, the kids took the remaining celery pieces and beat each other over the heads...AHEM!...battled each other with them outside ;)

With xylem

without xylem


The maple leaf print turned out ok. If I could give just 1 tip, it would be to go behind your kids, using a pencil or toothpick, and make the imprints deeper. I thought, "I don't need to do that... we picked robust, veiny leaves, and our imprints looked plenty deep", but by the time the kids painted over them and them pressed them down on the paper, the imprints wore down a bit and did not show up as well as I had hoped. Nevertheless, they had fun! 


Kiddos took turns reading the required selections from Illustrated World Atlas. However, we did not to the advanced section for Monday. 

They really enjoyed the crossword puzzle on Tuesday. The boys were pretty familiar with them already, but I had to explain it to my daughter. It was a fun way to go over some interesting facts about Canada. 

Kids are still enjoying the geography game :)

We also tried a new hair-do out on my daughter. We made bows using her own hair AND we went to see the new movie on Friday "Dolphin Tale". This one is definitely a must-see family movie :)
To see this hairstyle and many others, check out

(This post has been linked up at 2 Ladybugs and a Lizard and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers)

Friday, September 16, 2011

MFW-ECC - Week 7 - Canada

Our Week in Review


The inuit soap carving was a total disaster. By the time the kiddos were done, their soap carvings looked like a pile of good-smelling snow. We used the ivory soap as suggested, but it it just kept crumbling apart. I think the soap may have gotten too warm perhaps during shipping/transport to the store because when I took off the wrappers, they wanted to stick terribly to the soap and soap looked very dried out. Oh well :(


The kids took turns reading about long-term changes in Living World. They had fun making their food chains and learning about scavengers and decomposers in Properties and Ecosystems. They also had fun recalling several gross maggot stories of when they had come across decomposing things in the yard. When you live on 2 acres with all sorts of wild critters, you come across dead things from time to time. YUCK!


We stamped our passports, boarded our plane (AirCanada), and headed north to Canada. The kids are still enjoying playing the geography game and are learning more each time. On Friday, we revisited our missionary friends blog...Go and Be. The Johnson's are missionaries in Canada and have some great pictures of First Nations children, street ice hockey, and of course, snow, snow, snow


I have really enjoyed learning about the founders of the Salvation army!  There is a S.A. shelter in the next town over and I have personally known people who have been helped thru the S.A. with food, clothing, shelter, work, and of course, learning about Jesus. The Salvation Army helped us and our town tremendously after Hurricane Rita too. The town was a disaster area, no ice, no electricity for weeks, and of course, no stores open to buy food. The Salvation Army was one of the first ones on the scene passing out hot meals and ice each day. We, and so many others, were so appreciative and grateful for them. So learning about the Salvation Army, the founders, and its beginnings, was extra meaningful to us :) 

Did you learn anything new or interesting this week!

(This post has been linked up at Discover Their Gifts and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MFW-ECC - Week 6 - Mexico - FIESTA!

Our Week in Review

This week was CrAZy! Not only was there a holiday on Monday, Meals on Wheels on Wednesday, and the first day of co-op class on Friday, but the kiddos also wanted to have a fiesta Friday evening to bring our Mexico trip to a close. So, why not! It is still early on in the school year and I still have energy to spare {for now anyway}. We decorated, cooked, and invited over friends and family to celebrate :) 


Ok, the "Chi Chi Bud" song from Jamaica is HILARIOUS! We listened to it about 5 times through the first time laughing the whole way...especially at the "ugly bird" part. There was also another part where the kids thought he sang "some o' democrat". My son said, "What?! A democrat bird? Are there republicans too?" The song actually said, "Some o' dem are crow". ;)  LOL! I got a REALLY good laugh out of that one :)

We had planned to the 'framed tin plate' on page 124 of Global Art, but ran out of time this week. We have all the supplies, so we'll have to catch this craft at a later date.


We touched on several of the more interesting facts on in "A Trip Around the World". They also took turns picking out things of interest to read on the assigned pages in  Illustrated World Atlas and Living World.

Kiddos did a great job coloring their Mexico flags and writing down some important information underneath.


In "Properties of Ecosystems," we talked about an oasis and looked at a few pictures on the internet. I had to seriously condense all the info and just focused on the highlights of an oasis. The experiment we did with the leaves on page 85 was pretty neat. By this time, we had forgotten what transpiration was and had to go back to page 80 to refresh our memories. The kids were amazed at how much water and moisture had collected in the baggies. {we did not do anything on page 86}


Still trucking along with Cameron Townsend :)

And now...without further ado...our FIESTA!
Enchiladas, hard and soft tacos (not pictured - Chips and salsa and taco soup)

Making paper flowers
A and her friend all dressed up with their tissue paper flowers.

Mexican Hat Dance

Pinata time!

The little guy in the back wanted to be Batman, but he looks more like a character from Star!

Making sopapillas...yum! The boys all bailed on me at this point. ;)

What do you do with the left-over pinata parts? Make a skirt, of course! L's Daddy will *love* this picture ;)

Kids had a blast in Mexico. Now Canada, here we come!

(This post has been linked up at 2 Ladybugs and a Lizard )

Monday, September 5, 2011

God?...What on earth are you doing?!? (part 3)

"Dhun, dhun, dhun"...

The music minister and his family were called to another church.  *Gasp* {I need about a million sad frowny faces inserted right here.}

Just when it felt like things were really looking up... BAM! ...A piece of the puzzle was ripped from the picture.

I balled like a baby! Not only are we losing an awesome music minister...we are losing some great friends who have done so much in the time they were here. They will be GREATLY missed.

Through it all though, I know God has a plan. He has always been and will continue to be in control. I can't always see the big picture, but God does. I just need to lean on Him and trust in Him. I'm not happy about this recent change and I don't like it, but isn't this how it usually is with change? Sometimes, things we don't understand {or don't even like} have to happen in order for God's will to be done.

I really appreciated the pastor's sermon from Deuteronomy on Sunday. He didn't want us to pretend to put on a happy face with everything and act as if nothing had changed. He said it was ok to be upset, it was ok to be sad, and it was ok to not like what was going on. He said there is a time for mourning and a time to move on. Right now, we are in the mourning phase...we are losing a great church family and some great friends.

...BUT, he also made sure we understood that when God says go. 

Through everything that has been happening, not only in our church life, but also in my own personal walk, there has been a beautiful, beautiful song that keeps playing over and over in my mind.

Basically, the song is about all the things God could do through us, but doesn't. Why? I think because our wants and our desires get in the way of God's wants and God's desires. Sometimes, our will has to be broken before God's will can take over.

"Bind up these broken bones
Mercy bend and breathe me back to life
But not before you show me how to die
Oh not before you how me how to die"

Friday, September 2, 2011

God?...What on earth are you doing?!? (part 2)

So, there we were at our current church. We had settled in, made some friends, and got busy right away working where God had planted us. The church was growing by leaps and bounds and a new sanctuary went up with plans to add more buildings in the future. I was ecstatic because during this course of time, God had called me to home school. In the beginning, I knew of only 1 other family who had taken that leap of faith, but fast forward several years, and we had our own little homeschooling community :)

Then....more changes. 

Again, to make a long story short...over the course of about 6-7 years... the youth director was called into music ministry at another church, our preacher was called away to preach at another church, an interim preacher came, a new youth director came, and a year later that same youth director left. 

This roller coaster was taking me on twists and turns I'd rather not go on and I wished I could get off. During this course of time, we struggled and we prayed. We tried visiting another church or 2 with friends, but didn't feel called to be anywhere but where we were. 

Ugh! I did not like what was going on, not one bit! finally happened! We were close to finding a new preacher!!! And boy did God have a doozie in mind :) And I totally mean that in a good way. LOL!  We voted, he and his lovely wife came, things were going great, and I even joined the choir ;)  

Right around the same time, the education minister announced he was going to another church. Ok, right when things were looking up that was a bit of a downer, but I think we were still on this high of FINALLY finding a preacher that it affected me, but not to extent that it would have if we had not found a preacher yet. Does that make sense? Not to take anything away from the education minister or his family or anything... they were very nice, wonderful, hard-working people who had been members at the church longer than we had been. I know that was a very hard decision for them to make, but when the Lord says gotta listen.

Looking back though, our church needed some shaking up. In my mind, I think we had become complacent. Things, that I didn't necessarily like at the time, had to happen in order for our church to take on a new direction and boy were we heading full steam in a new direction!!! God had decided it was time to reveal yet another piece of the puzzle to me and things were starting to make sense again.

Then....{and I feel like the dramatic "Duhn, Duhn, Duhn" music score should be playing here} it happened again...

STOP, STOP, STOP! No more changes! I want to get off this crazy roller coaster! 

A piece of the puzzle was removed and this "picture" was turning out to be NOT the picture I had in mind...

MFW-ECC - Week 5 - Mexico

Our Week in Review

Passport Day!!!
The kids have "mailboxes" in their rooms. (I have one for S too.) Jason and I thought it would be fun to have their passports waiting for them when they got up that morning. So, in went the passports and up went the flags. They were excited to have them "mailed" to them :)  


My kids are loving these songs! Of course, A's favorite this week is 'Pin Pon' and J and S's is 'Tingalayo'. I must admit, the 'Tingalayo' song is quite catchy and the kids all think it is pretty funny when you think about the words. 

This week, the kiddos chose to make the clay sun faces on page 122 or Global Art


On Monday, we read about deserts in the 'Living World' book. This book is very busy, so I usually read the bold print opening paragraph. Then I let the kiddos take turns reading other areas of interest on the pages. Most times, they want to take turns until they read it all, but some days, we may not cover everything, and that is ok with me...they still get the main idea. Because of the age of my students, we opt not to do the 'advanced' sections listed in the teacher's manual.

The kiddos completed their desert student pages. The chart to the desert locations can be found on page 14-15 in the Classroom Atlas.

The kiddos had fun searching for the dusty desert animals on page 10 and 11 in 'The Great Animal Search'. They look forward to finding a few of the animals each day during the week. We pretty much do this pattern each week new animals are introduced.

On Tuesday, the Prop. of Eco. reading assignment was pretty long. I read the opening paragraph and touched on the bold orange words. We watched a short 3 minute video about deserts and sand storms. That can be found here. We looked up pictures of desert mirages on the internet. We also completed the 'Storing Water' activity, but chose to bypass the 'desert worsheet' and simply looked up pictures on the internet of desert plants and animals.

We saved all of our experiments for Friday when we had a little more free time. Before completing those, we read pages 54-55 in Living World
Turtles in the shade

Turtles in the sun

Turtles are fun!
About half a cube left from the shade

About half a cube left from the buried baggie

I thought this would be a great time to bust out our experiment lab report sheets.
I have downloaded the experiment lab report sheet template I created to google docs. There are areas to draw/write what they did, what they saw, and why they think it happened. Please feel free to click here to print them out for free to use with your kiddos and their experiments :)


The 'Illustrated World Atlas' is another book I think to be very busy. I typically use the same approach with this book as I do the 'Living World' book. I usually read the opening paragraph then let the kiddos take turns reading other areas of interest on the pages. Again, if we don't cover's ok :) Because of the ages of my students, we opt not to do the 'advanced' sections listed in the teacher's manual.

On Tuesday, we briefly discussed and looked at pages 31 and 62-65 in The Classroom Atlas.

The kids had a BLAST playing the geography game this week. I had no idea they would like it so much! They literally played for 30 minutes each time and would have kept going if I would have let them. I organized this game and cut out all of the pieces and got everything ready the night before. You will want to do this! Even with a paper cutter, it was time consuming and would have taken too much of our school day trying to get things together the day of. 

The kids enjoyed completing the spanish colors sombrero page 11 from A Trip Around the World. We used this opportunity to start up Rosetta Spanish Home School version I purchased a few months back. The kids seem to like it so far. We are hoping to complete at least 3 lessons each week. **hoping**


Monday's focus was Cuba. This really hit home for the kids because my sister had gone on a mission trip there a few years ago and gave us first hand information as to the hostility toward Christians and the government's stance against Christianity. She also had quite a bit of her Christian materials confiscated. That's ok though...perhaps someone there ended up reading it and giving their heart to God :)

We have also enjoyed reading about Cameron Townsend. Can't wait to see what happens next :)

I hope you had a great week as well!

(This post has been linked up at 2 Ladybugs and a Lizard and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers)

God?...What on earth are you doing?!? (part 1)

Have you ever felt like this? ...Like you knew God was up to something, but you had no idea what and you just didn't have enough pieces of the puzzle to see the big picture yet?

I feel like I'm on a roller coaster and every time I finally reach the top - those efforts are to no avail and I come spiraling down again.

I know God has a plan, I know He knows what is going on, and I know He works for the good of those who love Him.

Knowing all that...It's still hard...

God has been faithful every time though. In His timing, HE has shown me parts of the puzzle my entire life. We as humans want to see it ALL though. I know God does this for our own good. If he was to show us the big picture, we'd most likely spend a better part of our time trying to circumvent the picture rather than spending our time helping Him put the picture together.

I think back to a time we were members at a church in the next town over. Beautiful church, wonderful people,  great pastor...but for some reason...we felt God calling us away from there. Why? We had no clue. We really liked it there and were very involved in teaching and helping in the church. We just knew God said it was time to go. So, while in the end stages of being pregnant with my daughter and shortly after giving birth to her, my husband started visiting a few churches here and there in the town we lived in. We explained to our current church family our reasons behind our absence {one obvious reason being I had just had a baby, another was that we felt called to go to a church in the town we lived in or at least closer to the town we lived in, and the biggest reason...God simply told us it was time to go}.  It was hard doing that, but it was the truth and something that needed to be done.

Several weeks after having my daughter, the rest of the family started to visit the churches that topped my husband's list and not too long after that, we settled into regularly visiting just one church. We liked the church ok. We weren't thrilled though, but still... we felt like this was where we needed to be. It took us a VERY long time to join... I'd say upwards of several months to a year.

It was during our first year or two here at this church that God revealed to us a little piece of the puzzle as to why we had been called away from our previous church.

To make a long story short...unbeknownst to us, something was brewing under the surface.  After we started visiting other churches, over the course of the next several years, our previous church went through a lot of finger pointing, allegations, the loss of their preacher, a massive split, more allegations, a subsequent fire, then even more allegations. The people were hurting, friendships were severed, and ultimately one church became two.

Looking back, I'd like to think God protected us from all of that. We had no clue what was going on (nor do we wish to know all the details), but God knew.

I am happy to say though, many years later, I hear amends have been/are still being made and both churches are doing well.

Looking back, that was just ONE piece to the puzzle, but there is more...