Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Carschooling Week!

Short post this week! We celebrated Ron's 6th birthday this weekend, which included dinner out with visiting grandparents on Saturday night, a Chuck E. Cheese outing with a couple of fellow violin-playing friends on Sunday night, and then he opened presents on Monday, his actual birthday. I was totally exhausted after a long weekend and so Monday we just did our music practicing and took the rest of the day easy. Here is our birthday boy, fully enjoying his status as king for a day:

We are trying to tone down our birthday and Christmas gifts in an effort to be better stewards of our resources and battle consumerism in our family. We now only give the kids three reasonable-sized gifts each birthday and Christmas; one from each set of grandparents, and one from us. Also this year, instead of having a big party and getting tons of gifts, most of which we likely would not need or use, our kids decided that they will instead ask family and friends to donate towards their "Birthday for a Cause" campaign through One Day's Wages. You can check out their campaign here!

We did appreciate this addition to our schoolroom sent by Uncle Mike, Auntie Esther, and Owen: check out this awesome world map puzzle! The pieces are made of a thick foam and are very durable. The boys enjoy building it and lounging on it! It has fit right in our emphasis this year on world geography!

This week, Harry is focusing on the ecosystem of oceans, and concurrently in science, we are doing salt experiments. Here is the current progress of our attempt to create salt crystals:

We added salt to boiling water until there was so much salt it no longer dissolved. We then let it cool down...

...and poured the mixture into a glass bottle, letting a paper clip affixed to a pencil hang in the water. 
By Day 1, we began to see some crystals form on the sides of the bottle, and more are to come!
But then on Wednesday and Thursday, we had two subsequent days of carschooling! I had to go to Moody Bible Institute on both days to record interviews with two Moody Radio shows (Building Relationships with Gary Chapman, the show airs on May 7th; Midday Connection, the show airs on Monday, April 11th). We live about an hour or more away from Chicago with traffic, so I just packed up the books and had the kids bring them with to do along the way or while they were waiting for me! But while we were on campus, they just had fun eating and enjoying the sights:

Sitting next to the platform with Midday Connection hosts Anita Lustrea and Melinda Schmidt doing their thing!

The boys all love Moody and say they want to attend college there!
Getting to eat lunch with Dad two straight days in a row was a nice bonus!

Dining at the Moody Commons, the boys' "most favorite restaurant on the planet!"
So it wasn't one of our most productive weeks, but still a memorable one. Hope to pick things back up next week and really finish strong in the time we have left! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Week 25: Finishing Our Time in India!

This week we were back to school, after having a nice week off for Spring Break. We didn't go anywhere, we just kept it simple and coordinated our break with my husband's Spring Break...this is one of the things I love about homeschooling, that our schedule is totally flexible! He took them to Chicago one day during the break so that I could get ready for a speaking trip to the West Coast, and we also took the boys to an indoor playplace for a fun morning. Harry and Ron were by far the biggest kids, since all the other children their size were at school, but all three had a great time nonetheless.

This week we began focusing on China, but I don't have any photos from those activities yet. We also finished up a few activities related to our recent focus on India, so I'll share those here. First of all, in conjunction with India we studied mountains, since some of the most notable mountains and mountain regions are in or near India (think Everest!) The boys had fun building a model of a mountain and trying to show different ecosystem layers present on one mountain:

They also tried their hand at stone-inlay Indian art...

Harry created his in the shape of India, to remind him to pray for the Indian people.

By the way, all the art projects we do come from a fun book called Global Art. I do not come up with any art ideas on my own, as I am completely inept at art myself! But all three boys truly enjoy when we do the hands-on and creative activities. So I'm grateful for our curriculum that directs us in this area!

Meanwhile, as we are now in the home stretch (!) with only 11 more official weeks left in our curriculum, I am both excited by what we have accomplished and sobered by "what we have left undone." I am considering having Harry take a standardized test this summer to see how we are doing in relation to other children his age, just to give me some guideposts as to where we might need to focus more attention next year. I have contacted Kolbe Academy for more information on their testing service and we'll see how that goes.

As for Ron, this weekend is a big week for him as he turns 6! Kindergarten has been very simple and straightforward for him this year. But he has made great strides in his cursive, his reading, and has started Singapore Math 1A in the past couple of weeks. He is also a GeoPuzzle World expert and has demonstrated a love for maps and geography, which we would not have discovered without our emphasis in world cultures and countries this year. So although on one hand I haven't felt as though I've really put as much time into helping him this year, he has still managed to learn and grow in a number of areas, and I'm thankful for that! Next year will be an interesting switch for Ron to being a 1st grader with a longer school day...hopefully we will all survive!

And as for Dobby, he is demonstrating an interest in reading and has a number of words under his belt so far, such as: God, Bible, milk, pizza, cat, dog, cow, and pillow. Random list, but fun to see his literacy growing! He loves to play with letters, do "work" when the older boys are doing school, and paint whenever I let him!

That's all for this week! Thanks for stopping by...hoping to have more outdoor photos soon with the weather starting to hint at spring!