Category Archives: Homeschool

Clowning Around

Today found us heading out for a field trip to The Parade Company in Detroit.

We saw where they build floats and big heads for America’s Thanksgiving Parade; it is the third biggest Parade in America–behind the Rose Parade on January 1st and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It started in 1924 as the JL Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Employees from Hudson’s were in the parade–but only men–they pulled the floats.  A couple of years later women were allowed to be in it and all were paid for doing so.  The parade was not held in 1943 and 1944 as the parade supplies were donated for the war effort.

The Parade Company employs artists and has 4,500 volunteers that put on the parade each year.  People 14-years-old and up can walk in the parade.  Wearing a Big Head or being a clown is an option for those making a donation of various sizes.

We saw a styrofoam culture being crafted, floats from previous years that will be reused, and a float being dismantled that is being taken out of service.

Can you find the first ethnic float character or the handpainted Petoskey stone?

 

School Year

Where did this year go?  I swear it started yesterday but here we are…starting our last week on Monday!!

I am ready.

The girls are ready.

Frazier is probably even ready.

I am sure the turtle is ready.

Did we get it all done?  Heck no!!!

But Sue did an amazing job with reading.  She read so many books!  She read things like Bridge to Terabethia, Paddington Bear, Island of the Blue Dolphin, Refugee, some Dork Diaries books, some Who Was biographies, Anne of Green Gables, Across Five Aprils.  A lot.

Ukranian eggs were decorated.

Ice skating was discovered.

Dissections were done (grasshopper and squid).

Syrian foods were eaten.

Math was done–each of the girls completed a level and started the next!!

Random schoolwork was done.

A good year was had…

 

 

Fat Tuesday a Day Late

I used to do fun projects in our homeschool.  The last year or so I feel like I have gotten lazy–but today I am turning that around…

Fat Tuesday was yesterday, but we were at a field trip, so I am sneaking in our paczki project today.  Caitlyn made some from scratch (baked to fried) and we looked up how they are made in a bakery and about a nearby city here that is famous for these big ole jelly donuts…

She set the dough to rise twice, waited for the individual paczki’s to rise, baked them, and filled them with strawberry jams.  Her sisters decided to “help out” with the jelly part and the eating part!

Caitlyn used this recipe.

Then we checked out some YouTube to see how it is done on a larger scale.

And no lesson in this house would be complete without a study on immigration and how it grows, changes, and develops our communities.  I highly recommend this article!  Take a minute to see a bit of reality in how people leave together, grow together and learn from each other.  You’ll be glad you did–I’ll be glad you did!!

Blessing or a Curse

Our family has had the privilege over the last year or so of learning Arabic from native speakers who started as friends and are now family.

Our family has had the opportunity to experience how badly your brain can hurt from learning Arabic.

There’s a reason it is considered the second hardest language for English speakers to learn.

Many of the sounds are different.  Sentence structure is often different.  Greetings are very different.

Let’s start with the alphabet.

My girls have been painstakingly working their way through the alphabet as well as adding vocabulary.  My lessons have not involved written Arabic, rather, I am trying to sort out the spoken.

Turns out Arabic has 18 conjugations for almost every noun and verb.  By way of comparison, Spanish has 6 verb conjugations.

And Arabic has these greetings that not only said at specific times for specific reasons but also have particular answers.  I’ll give you an example with it translated into English.

You come home from work and have been busy, I say–“God give you strength.”  You say, “God strengthen you.”  There are many others.  My favorite is “Kaif Halik (how are you)?”  “Alhamdhallah (Thanks be to God) or Ashkurallah (God is good).”

I enjoy seeing how they all fit together, but I find it hard to remember what I am supposed to say when and how.

Yesterday, Caitlyn was struggling to remember her new words for this week’s lesson.  She is used to everything except math coming very easily.  Arabic had her mad.  How dare it be so hard?  I totally relate!

Today in history we were studying the tower of Babel where the people on the earth had gotten very proud and decided that they could build a tower that would reach all the way to heaven.  Rather than letting the people be destroyed by their own pride, God introduced many languages, so the people no longer could talk easily to one another, rather, they had many different languages and communication was instantly more complicated (Genesis 11:3-9).

3And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 5And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

And it has worked, hasn’t it?  Things are much more complicated than they would be if we had just one common language.

So Caitlyn, building on what she had said yesterday about it being hard, said, “see it’s a curse!!”

But is it?

Yes, it definitely makes things harder, but our language is also part of our identity.  It is part of what makes us who we are.  It is not just a bunch of sounds strung together.  It is how we see the world, how we do things.  It is the respect we show, the respect we expect.

It is also a way to bond with people.  If you even just try a little to learn someone’s language when it is not your own, you have instantly shown them honor, that you value them.  And when the words don’t come out right–you can bond over laughter–like the day I told a lady, I would bring her a house (bayt) when I meant to say I would bring her a book (ktaab).

Yes, learning Arabic is hard.  Really hard,  but that first time I was able to tell one of my friends that I loved her in Arabic, it was all worth it.

So, while Caitlyn may be convinced it is a curse to learn Arabic, it will continue to be part of our

Fall is Settling In

This last week we took advantage of the flexibility of homeschooling and went camping…we packed up Frazier, our Arabic lessons, reading, and Bible and hit the road.  We became mosquito fodder for a few days as we enjoyed the quiet of Lake Michigan.

We came home in time to start our homeschool co-op classes.  Patrice is taking gym, kite making, and games.  Sue is checking out gym, kite making, and sports info.  Caitlyn is learning about immigration and refugees, games, and photography.  I am teaching the class on immigration and refugees and helping in the games class.

Friday we headed to the library after our studies at home (they were not so thrilled with the double portion of math…but that’s the price you pay for going to the beach!)

I am enjoying the cooler temperatures as my runs get longer–my next half marathon is less than a month away.  Saturday I ran 8.5 miles.  I am happy to report I didn’t run out of stamina, I just ran out of time as we were headed to visit with friends for the evening.

Daddy got super brave and asked Caitlyn to trim his hair.  She said later, “I’ve been teasing him for so long that I would do it, but once he asked me to, I was scared!!”  She did a great job!!

Protecting Me

How do you do it?  How do you homeschool your kids?

Some days, I don’t know.  I love homeschooling my kids and having them with me.  That closeness is a lot of why I first considered homeschooling.  But I am, at my core, an introvert who requires time to recharge on my own–alone–away from people–quietly–and there is not a lot of that when you are a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of three girls, ages 8, 10, and 12.

And there is the husband who likes to talk.  And going to church with people.  And I have an amazing tribe of women in my life that I love spending time with.

All of these things are fantastic, and I wouldn’t change them, but I can end up tapped out before the day even begins.

That’s where distance running comes in.  Today, I logged 7 miles with Frazier.  It was incredible.  I waved at a few people and they waved at me, I  listened to a book on Intercessory Prayer, told the dog to heel, and ran for over an hour and a half…that’s it.  For once, I didn’t wish I were a faster runner, though I am a little embarrassed to say how long my runs take, I just felt the power of being able to put one foot in front of the other for that long.  And when I finished, I knew I could have gone farther, likely, much farther.

I am home now, needing to take a shower, but I wanted to process some of this first.  The gift that is the time it takes me to run the distances I want to go.

The school year will start the week after next.  There will be more in my day and the time to run my distances I love so much will be harder to find, but find them I will, no matter what it takes.

I am blessed to have the time with my girls.  I am blessed to have my time to run…one makes the other possible.

The Sub Might Take Over

This last year my hubby has taken over teaching science to the girls.  We did some research and he chose a book.  It works out great.  I go running or do errands or…while they cover science.  But a couple times I have been called upon to sub and it is fun.  I think I might take over science for next year.

This morning we learned about low pressure and high pressure in the weather and how it creates the basic building blocks for wind.  For example, the heat of the sun causes low pressure on the beach and the coolness of the ocean, or in our area the Great Lakes,  causes high pressure, which rushes in to even out the pressure in the low area, thus causing wind.

Our experiment involved opening up and emptying a tea bag, lighting it with a match and watching what happens. It was so cool we did it twice.

Up, up, and away!!

Yeah, it was cool…I think the sub will be taking over science class/

 

Watching Their Hearts

“Welcome to our world little one.  We pray that you come to know Jesus very young and never let go.”  These were my first words over each of my girls.  And that heart cry has never changed.

We have so many reasons for homeschooling, but this, their relationship with Jesus is always first and foremost.

Bible is a staple in our weekly schooling.  Each day the girls work on memorizing their Awana assigned verses, Caitlyn is in an optional discipleship group, and we have added a daily prayer time.  It is a constant but our desire is not for the girls to just do what they have to do,  but to understand they can have a personal relationship with Christ.  We don’t worship a God who created the world and then walked away, we worship a God who loves us and knows our inmost being.

Psalm 139

1 O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 
3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 
4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. 
5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. 
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 
9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 
10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
The other day I found this envelope on my computer area.
And inside I found a jumble of pieces that made this
This heart cry is what I pray my daughters, husband, and I will have.

School is Just Around the Corner

In case you have been living under a rock…I am here to tell you that school has either started or is just about to start.  Yup.  Really.

And this means, in the homeschooling world, we have been seeing tons of pictures of people’s homeschooling rooms and areas.

We don’t really have one.  We kind of just school where we land.  Math is done on the computer.   Writing is done on a TV tray in the living room–no, the tv is not on.  Spelling is done on the iPad.  Well, Caitlyn’s is, but I am trying something new with Sue and Patrice this year.  Bible is done with iPad and walking around (memorization is easier when movement is included).  Reading is done either with me or tucked in a comfortable spot.  Grammar, Explode the Code, and the Michigan lapbook are done at the kitchen table.  We are adding some new classes this year…we’ll see how they shake out.

All that aside, Caitlyn saw some of these posts of people’s school rooms and she wanted to share ours.  We may not have a room, but there is no denying that we school at home.

(Turns out the whiteboard does not include everything, I am adding typing and health, and upping our writing game.)

The girls better enjoy this weekend because Tuesday is a’comin!

Another Glimpse

I don’t think this is the first time, but I thought a glimpse into the hypomania side of bipolar disorder might be an okay idea today.

But first, check out this cute.

My girls are so beautiful and I am so proud of them.  They keep me moving literally, mentally, and emotionally.

And lately, I have been moving…non-stop.  It started with just busyness.  Sue was finishing up practices and launching into performances for Seussical.  It was phenomenal.

But it’s done–thing is, I can’t stop keep moving.  Yes, life is busy, but I should be capable of slowing down, of stopping.  I’m not.  Having open time fills me with overwhelming panic and dread, like everything is going to fall apart if I stop for one single minute.

On the upside, there is always a lot to be done.  Even hypomania can’t get me on top of all of it, but I am using it as much as possible.

Today included planning and organizing for the upcoming school year, laundry, and a million other little things.

This has been going on for weeks, which is not normal for me, and my thinking is starting to get much harder to control, my anger at things is out of proportion, I am over thinking EVERYTHING, so on and so forth.

Monday, it was time to call the doctor, so I did.  He upped a med and I am headed to his office tomorrow.

I know it will get sorted out.  Hypomania has always been a strange bedfellow for me, but one that can be helped.  I know help is coming.