Saturday, September 28, 2013

Week 5 - a light school week, but busy everywhere else...soaps, sponsors, and sickness

Here are a few highlights from our week...

For starters, the father-son hunting class was rescheduled for this weekend which meant the mother-daughter outing was also rescheduled. It was ok though...the kids have been really wanting to build a fort or a playhouse or something. So, that 'spare' day was spent with dad and the kids setting the posts and laying the floor for the fort. The kids had not just one, but TWO friends sleepover, so the weekend was packed with non-stop fun for them :)

It went ok this week. I compromised with my blue-eyed boy as far as adding any "fluff" to his artwork. As long as he practiced the particular technique they were learning that week (drawing houses with perspective), he could leave all the "fluff" to his sister for her artwork ;) 

Ahhh, music... This is the one area I have been relaxed in. We did the first 2 lessons where it talked about the life of Haydn, but past that? We haven't done much. This happened to us last year, but we eventually caught up. I'm hoping that happens this year too. If not, it won't be the end of the world in the whole scheme of things ;)

This section touches on some of the main themes/points throughout the book of Romans. I personally wish it was more in-depth, but for my kids ages, it is sufficient.

Because I have 2 kids doing RtR and 2 sets of NT cards,  they turned the New Testament game into more of a matching game instead of the game listed in the teacher's manual.

Augustus Caesar's World seemed a bit slow and uninteresting this week. It looks like it will pick up next week though. The read-aloud is going well. Sometimes we read a little head because we are all enjoying the story so much.

During the read-alound, the kids completed the tongue activity from The Body Book.

They also tasted 4 different foods to reinforce sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.


The kids recently adopted 2 dogs...Bowser and Maisey Jewel.

One of our dogs was sponsored which meant we got a price break on the overall cost. 

So, the kids and I thought it would be nice to "pay it forward" and sponsor another dog for someone else. They found out there were two 8 year old siblings who were having a hard time getting adopted. So, instead of sponsoring one, they sponsored 2 dogs. Siblings sponsoring siblings :)

The kids got to go down and meet the dogs, play a bit with them, and take pictures with them. The dogs are sooo sweet and very well behaved, but because they are older and black in color, they are having a hard time getting adopted. 

Anyway, to save up money to sponsor the dogs, the kids are doing extra chores and even washing their own dogs instead of taking them to get washed. 

We also went to the Hope Women's Resource Clinic to volunteer this week. The kids helped sort, fold, and put out LOTS and lots of baby clothes for the ladies who came into the boutique.

And on yet another day, we went and purchased some soap from a fellow homeschooling mom and friend. We LOVE all of her soaps and other goodies! Margery Mae's has such great prices and the products are awesome and full of essential oils which are great for your body and skin :) Check her out here if you are interested...

The only downside to our week was our brown-eyed girl did not feel well several days this week. We *think* she ate something that contained gluten which gives her intestinal system a terrible time :(  We are also headed back to Texas Children's soon to rule out any kidney problems since that is where the most of her recent pain has been localized especially when she eats/drinks anything high in sugar content. 

Well, that about sums up our week. Kinda slow as far as school is concerned, but busy everywhere else :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Week 4 - Rome to the Reformation: mosaics, clay creatures, and hilariously funny 'Rotten Roman' video clips

Here are a few highlights from our week...

We had hoped to complete this mosaic project last week, but the mail did not arrive in time. So, we completed it this week instead. The kids had fun and this kit made things super easy for me in keeping the kids busy while I did some of the required oral reading this week. They have several kits to choose from.

Walmart also had some cute mosaic animals in their $1-$3 bins, but when we went back to get some, they were already all out :(

We finished up the overview of the New Testament and who wrote each book. In the coming weeks, we will focus more closely on the book of Romans.

This week, the kids had fun creating their clay creatures while I did the oral reading for the day. Now that we are reading the Bronze Bow AND Augustus Caesar's World orally, the kiddos need to keep busy and the coloring sheets alone weren't cutting it anymore. They created the creatures one day and painted/decorated them the next day. My son opted to make a bull (instead of a it was more!) named 'Bulldozer' and my daughter created a puppy named 'Jewel'. You can find the directions online to make these animals and many others here and here.

They did a really good job painting them as well. My poor brown-eyed girl's puppy kept falling apart every time she touched a different part though. I think she had to totally recreate it in the end. She just kept adding more and more clay, but no matter how much she added, pieces just kept falling off :(

Someone posted on a homeschool Facebook page about these video clips called "Rotten Romans". The name caught my attention and since we are learning about the Romans, we watched a few. I must say, they are pretty funny. 

Here's a link to one about Roman table manners.

One about Roman gods. I think this one nailed perfectly how ridiculous all their idol worship really was. 

And another about Julius Caesar and his rise to fame and fall to death.

This was another project we were hoping to complete last week when we were learning about the brain, but my order did not arrive in time. We purchased several small scale models to put together as we learn about different topics this year: body, brain, skeleton, and heart.
All but 1 part of the brain was fairly easy when putting this model together. We could NOT figure out where the hippocampus went. I mean, we saw where it was supposed to go, but when we went to snap the parts together, it would either fall out every time or the model would fall apart b/c the hippocampus would not allow it to snap together. SO, our model is missing the hippocampus. Shhh! No one will ever know ;)

We also completed the 5 Senses activity from the Body Book. I think the kids are going to like the activities in it. Yay! More hands-on things to keep them busy during all that oral reading.

Whew! This week has been packed... We are finishing up the week with the kids having a sleepover with friends, a father-son hunting class, and a mother-daughter date :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Week 3 MFW - Rome to the Reformation: science, Saturnalia, and grumpy kitty

Here are a few highlights from our week...

My son actually enjoyed art this week! He's all about making the cubes and 3-D figures look realistic. It's more technical and less creative, and I think he enjoys that aspect of these particular art lessons.

Writing is still a different story. I found these pictures on the internet and showed them to him and told him this is what he looks like during writing. He will at least crack a smile for 'grumpy kitty'!

We are focusing on the books of the New Testament. We are reading key passages from each book to get the overall theme/message of the books, as well as who God used to author the books, and to whom the books were written. I did not realize just how many New Testament books Paul had written!

This is my favorite part each day. I am making so many historical as well as Biblical connections. The history I learned in public school and the history I learned in church were not from two different time periods after all...I love how I see the correlation between the two now. It is all starting to make sense in my little pea-brain :) The big connection this week was with the despised Herod, so-called 'King of the Jews' and his early beginnings.

Augustus Caesar's World has it's slow parts, but the kids and I find many parts very intriguing. I love how the history comes to life in story book format. I know this book is not written from a Christian perspective or by a Christian author, but keeping that in mind, it has helped me and my kids to make many historical Biblical connections. I remind my kids quite frequently about idol worship and idolatry, what the Bible says about that, as well as asking them critical thinking questions to keep their minds alert to these deceptions. There were some parts of the 'Cleopatra and Antony' chapter that we just skipped all together. Too much lovey-doveyness for their young minds.

We also learned about Hanukkah (and I plan to learn more of that later this year) and about Saturnalia. Saturnalia is the Roman festival honoring the god Saturn. I know that most of our modern day holidays and celebrations had various origins from pagan holidays and celebrations when the Roman Church at that time tried to get the people to focus less and less on paganism and tie them more in with Christian meanings. I also know that Christmas originally had pagan origins, but I either don't remember or never knew the origins were related to Saturnalia. In doing a little more research (on my own outside of homeschool), I read about some of the disgusting practices during Saturnalia. I know human sacrifice was prevalent back then, but it still shocks me that people used to do that and have such little regard for human life.

I know some people, even a few in my extended family, who do not participate in the normalcies of Christmas because of this or other things...and that's ok. We all have to search our own hearts and reasons for why we do or do not do things and ultimately follow where he Lord is leading us. For our family, Christmas is a time to honor Christ's birth (and yes, we know it wasn't really on Dec. 25th), glorify God for the saving life gift of His Son, and a time to rejoice with family through giving gifts.

We are actually enjoying these more simplified activities as opposed to setting up and getting ready for some sort of long and drawn out experiment. 

This week, instead of using a cotton ball during the blinking/involuntary reflex activity, I sat them down in chairs, gave them safety glasses, and threw Nerf darts at them. They were totally not expecting that! They got the point and were quite surprised...LOL.
They were a little leery as to what I was up to...
The hot or cold regulator activity was fun too. I even tried this one, however, I'll not post the picture the kids took of me..ugh...I am getting old!

And last, but not least, I will leave you with a few other funny pictures we came across when I stumbled across 'grumpy kitty'. 
Mustache kitty

Fierce Kitty

Crazy kitty

Bowser - big & bad, but we love him anyway ;)

This might sound strange to say, but if this pup we adopted had gone home with anyone else, I fear he would either have been dumped, returned, abused, or dead by now.

 Sounds harsh, I know, and don't get me wrong, we love him and he is very well taken care of, but that doesn't mean we don't have problems with his behavior from time to time. 

My son saw this pup at the Humane Society a few months ago and said, "This is the one I want." A few weeks later, he came home with us.

Bowser is a big beautiful 9 month old pup. Very intelligent and playful and loving. However, there is a crazy side to him as well.  He has what I call, 'bouts of spasticness'. It could be a condition, I think...

We kept him inside a lot the first few weeks he was with us in order to heal from his neutering and because we had no idea how he would react to being outside in a new place with strangers. He crate trained very quickly and was pretty good as far as his behavior. However, he had a pee problem. If he got too excited or nervous or frightened, he'd pee. I was VERY thankful for my tile floors at that point. I think I cleaned and disinfected that floor more in those few weeks than I had in a few years.

Flashback - My husband learned this pee-lesson the hard way. When we went to pick him up to bring him home for the first time, the lady bringing him out lost control of him and he came barreling full speed down the hall, just about knocked my husband over, jumped up on him and peed...right down his leg and onto his boots. NOT a good first impression and NOT the last time my husband would get peed on. That was also when we knew he'd need LOTS of training...and patience...and sanity...

We learned a few techniques along the way to help control his peeing, but bottom line - he had to go outside. With school getting into full swing soon, I only had so much 'spare' time and continually mopping up a floor was not on my list. We are hopeful he will outgrow this problem as he gets older.

We have a nice covered back porch and huge fenced in yard. Even though we have a large doghouse outside, we put his crate out there too under the porch because that is where he felt safe and comfortable and liked to sleep/rest. We leave the door unlatched so he can go in and out as he pleases. We bought him a really nice plush comfortable cedar filled dog bed and put it in his crate. 

Destroyed it the first day. 

I could go into story after story of things that have been destroyed or badly chewed up, but for time's sake, here is a list and I'm SURE I am still leaving things off...

3 leashes (while he was being walking down the trails in our yard) 
3 doggy beds
4 water hoses (into many many pieces)
the corners of my raised garden beds
plants in my garden (he has a particular liking for lima bean bushes)
half of a loquat tree
storage containers
potted plant containers
too many chew toys to count
dog food bowl
kiddie/puppy pool
garden tools
bird feeder (he jumped and ripped this one right out of the eaves of the roof)
brick on the house (so far this is still in far)
lots and lots of digging
insulation off pipes
bag of cedar chips (for chicken beds)
bag of oyster shell (for chickens)
bag of corn (for squirrels)
bag of bird seed (duh, for the!)
He even chewed so much on a water pipe/faucet that he managed to loosen it from the brick wall and now it is leaking and needs to be repaired. (Yea, that one went over real well with my husband.)

Before you think all of this is because he doesn't get enough time spent with him, let me reassure you...

We are a homeschooling family so my kids and I are pretty much home all day. We try to take the dogs on morning, afternoon, and evening walks. We have multiple play and training times with them throughout the day as well as 'puppy play time' where all the dogs play together. We even have really low windows in our school room to where Bowser can walk right up to where the kids are, we open up the window, he rests his head on the window sill, and interacts with the kids while they do their schooling.

So, when does he have time to do all that damage?

Most times it is when we are away from the house, running errands, grocery shopping, church, etc., pretty much any time he is not right next to us.

We have learned though. We leave NOTHING out now. The backyard is cleaner than it has ever been and pretty much devoid of anything that we don't want getting chewed up or destroyed or buried.

There is now a barricade built around the water faucet and garden hose. The automatic watering bowl has permanent piping (not a water hose) run to it now and it is screwed into the brick wall. He has a metal dog food bowl and we keep him stocked with a fresh supply of BIG chew bones. If we have been away from Bowser longer than usual, I go out with him first to get out some of his pent up craziness before the kids get to him (or I go out with the kids to 'supervise'. Those big claws of his are extremely painful and he has been known to jump and nip from time to know, those teeth he keeps razor sharp from chewing on the brick to the house? 

My son sometimes feels bad that his dog creates such messes and leaves paths of destruction.

My blue-eyed boy is such a compassionate, sweet, patient, and loving person. I told him that any other kid probably would have given up on this dog by now and God must have known to send that dog to him because no one else probably would have had the patience to put up with Bowser.

We really do love this big ol' baby oaf though. In the end, I just know he will be a well-mannered lifelong friend, companion, and protector to our son and the rest of the family :) 

So, do any of you have a pet that has been less than ideal, but you love them anyway?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Week 2 MFW - Rome to the Reformation: Romans, pets, and brains

Here are a few highlights from our week...

My son survived the first 2 art lessons. He didn't really complain at all. He saved the complaining for writing...arg!!! You'd have thought I asked him to write some sort of dissertation instead of a few sentences describing his bedroom. It's gonna be a loooong year...

The kids are enjoying Bible time. They had fun "cracking the code" on their way to Granny's house to visit her. We did not make the secret scroll because we had done something similar to this at church not too long ago. We did bring out some samples of papyrus paper the kids had though to look over in detail.

The kids are really getting into this time period. Augustus Caesar's World is a little slow at times, but I make enlarged copies of some of the pictures and that helps keep them occupied during the less interesting parts of the book. 

They really liked the odd or even game. I gave them a time limit (b/c that game can go on forever), but they wanted to play it until the very end (and it did take forever), but they enjoyed every minute of it :)

Science is going well. I just ordered a few human body models so the kids can get a more in depth look at things. I wish they were here as of yesterday. I hope they arrive soon :/ We also have a neat 3-D book called Uncover the Human Body that we utilize from time to time. 

The kids got a kick out of Backward activity in the Human Body for Every Kid book. I thought it was fun tricking our brains too.

I really meant to take pictures this week of the kids completing their school activities, however, the kids took plenty for me instead....of their pets...enjoy!

Yep! It's a circus around here :)