Sunday, May 8, 2011

Weeks 26-30: China, Japan, and Russia

The weeks fly by! It has been too long since my last update. We have continued our tour of the world, stopping by the countries China, Japan, and Russia. The boys have kept up with their daily geography review and I'm pretty sure they can out-name me with their current geography knowledge. This week, we move into Australia and Oceania, with Antarctica the final continent on our list. It's still hard to believe we are already at this point!

Here are some highlights from the past month...

Some of our most memorable moments had nothing to do with our official schoolwork. We decided to start trying our hand at gardening; there is a raised bed in our backyard that has just lain dormant for years. We have been trying to cultivate the the soil and have learned afresh what the parable of the sower is all about, how important good soil is and much work it takes to get there!

I'm struck by the fact that our role as Christ-followers is to plant the seed, then collect the harvest, while God is responsible for the hardest parts of the process--preparing the soil and growing that seed. As for our own garden, I have no idea if we will successfully be able to grow anything! But we will give it a try and if nothing else, it will be a fun exercise with the boys!

The past month also featured our last evening of AWANA, which the boys have enjoyed immensely. Both boys started midway through the year, with Ron starting in December and Harry in January. Ron did so well in a short amount of time; he learned the second-highest number of verses amongst all kindergarteners, even with his abbreviated year. We were very excited to see how much both boys enjoyed learning God's word!

Easter featured another opportunity for the boys to shine; they volunteered to help lead the singing on Easter Sunday morning at church. Even little Dobby had to be a part of it! And a peek into their Easter baskets...had to include the little Angry Bird for fun even though I know it has little to do with Easter!

We also enjoyed our last day at our homeschool co-op; Dobby did not attend this year but came along for the last day as his dad was busy in Chicago that morning. He had a great time practicing his writing with his faithful friend, Mr. Bear, and his favorite toy, the Leapfrog Scribble and Write. This toy has helped him more than anything else with forming his letters--although I'm not usually a fan of electronic toys, this one gets my thumbs-up!

Schoolwise, a quick summary:
  • Harry has finally finished Writing With Ease 2, which we started this year; we tried to do it twice as fast but just couldn't keep up that pace. We are now moving onto Writing With Ease 3, and I'm sticking with it even though I will confess at times it has caused us both to pull our hair out! But after watching a couple of Susan Wise Bauer's videos on the writing process and dictation in particular, I am entering into WWE3 with a different approach: more patience with as much repetition as necessary to help Harry through it. I still believe in her writing philosophy for children, so we'll stick with the program for now! He is also doing his own creative writing on the side, so he's certainly exercising his writing muscles that way...tens of thousands of words so far this year and counting!
  • Harry continues to chug along in Singapore Math 2B; we will continue into the summer and keep practicing our mental math skills!
  • Ron has somehow managed to pick up a number of skills this year without my being the most attentive kindergarten teacher. His cursive continues to come along, but I think all the cursive practice has also helped him with his print as well; we've taken a couple of weeks to go back to just printing and I've been really pleased with the results. Photos next post. =) 
  • Ron has also started Singapore Math 1A and is solidifying his initial round of addition facts from 1-10. One of the things we do is to do several rounds of "flash-card fun", where I spread the cards out and time him; he tries to get faster each round. He could just sit and do these at a table, and sometimes he does, but being our kinesthetic kid, getting him to move around always helps!
  • Dobby continues to be the only child who shows interest in spelling! I will likely start him on a reading program this summer or fall. Can't wait to get him reading! I had some fun Mom-and-Dobby time with him at the local children's museum recently, and he had a blast:

Lastly, Harry and Ron had a fun field trip this Friday at the local Apple Store! They met with a group of other homeschooling kids, learned how to use Keynote and iMovie, and left believing that Apple is the best computing company in the world. No dummies, those Apple folks--way to start building brand loyalty when the kids are young!

Mother's Day blessings to all! We have four weeks to go and then we are done with the official school year! Thanks for stopping by!

"We did it! We made a movie together!!"


  1. Looks like you guys have been having some great times in homeschool :) Don't you just *love* AWANA? I grew up in that program and that is where I learned to really get into God's Word and begin to memorize it at such an early age. My kiddos are now involved and I *love* that they are 'hiding God's Word' in their hearts at such an early age too.

  2. Glad to see that LEGO Minifigures made it into the Easter baskets... :)

  3. Chris, I just saw your comment! Thanks for checking in with our blog, delinquent a blogger though I am! Yes, Legos are pretty much a necessity around here, for better or worse. =) Pauline, I wish I had known about AWANA when I was a kid! What a wonderful program! =) Thanks for visiting!