Category Archives: Homeschool

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.

School Never Stops

We’ve been having fun this summer.  We visit with friends every week, we play with Frazier, we go to parks, we go for a run when it is cool enough, we play with our cousins, we go to play practice, we play games, we skateboard,

we practice our reading, and math.  Wait, the girls don’t find that last one fun?  I do!!

I love watching them tackle another math lesson or a math game.  It is fun to me to see them not losing the skills of what they learned during the school year.  I love seeing them add to what they learned from Labor Day to June.

I love seeing them compete against each other to read or do more reading activities for the library “Build a Better World” program.  Each of the girls has finished the first booklet of 50 items and has earned a free dinner, a free ice cream treat, and an entry into the big giveaway.

They are about half way through their second giveaway entry.  Sue is flying through the Dork Diaries Series.  Caitlyn is enjoying lots of different books, print and Audio.  Right now she is working on Three Cups of Tea:

The astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his humanitarian campaign to use education to combat terrorism in the Taliban’s backyard

Anyone who despairs of the individual’s power to change lives has to read the story of Greg Mortenson, a homeless mountaineer who, following a 1993 climb of Pakistan’s treacherous K2, was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers and promised to build them a school. Over the next decade he built fifty-five schools—especially for girls—that offer a balanced education in one of the most isolated and dangerous regions on earth. As it chronicles Mortenson’s quest, which has brought him into conflict with both enraged Islamists and uncomprehending Americans, Three Cups of Tea combines adventure with a celebration of the humanitarian spirit (description taken from Amazon).

Not all of our fun has been that educational.  We have spent time watching tv, playing computer games, cooking,

cleaning the house.

It’s a well rounded summer, right?

Sugar Butts

I am the potty mouth in this house.  My hubby never, ever swears…well, okay, he did when the camper flipped over and he was trying to control the car…but that doesn’t count, does it?

So, when someone gets in trouble for saying a “bad” word in this house, mommy is to blame.  Sigh.

Today, Caitlyn and Sue were working on putting together some projects they received for Christmas.  Caitlyn started her catapult yesterday and teased Frazier today by launching pieces of burnt bacon.

Sue started her robot today and was having a hard time finding one of the pieces–“damn!”

“Mommy, Sue said damn.”

Sigh…time to head to their room for a chat.

“Sue, you can’t say damn.” “But I can’t find the piece I need.”  ”

“But I can’t find the piece I need.”  ”

“I know, but you can’t say that word even though mommy does.  Say, um, ‘sugar butts’ like daddy does.  Or dude.  That’s the one I like.  You can say it with emphasis.  DUDE!!!”

Insert eye roll and a big, heavy sigh.

A few minutes later she is still searching for the piece, looks over at Caitlyn and mutters, “sugar butts!!”

My work here is done.

I’ve had a couple “sugar butts” kind of days lately.  It has been raining.  I have not been running.  I am coming off two medications due to side effects.  I am recommitting myself to eat low FODMAP to control some health issues that are obnoxious and kind of hard to control.  And there is still homeschooling and its duties, May has a couple super social days in it, and another birthday for me.

Sigh and a big helping of “sugar butts.”

What is your safe word to say around kids or that your kids are allowed to say?  If you don’t have one, go ahead and have ours.  We’ll share!

Pi and Pie

Yesterday, 3/14, was Pi, 3.14, day.  Most years I remember too late that it WAS Pie/Pi day.

Not this year.

A wonderful friend put together a Pi day curriculum for me.  We practiced finding the circumference of circles using pieces of yarn and Pi.  We watched a couple YouTube videos, made Pi cootie catchers,  and a paper chain showing how there is not a number pattern in Pi.

To round out the day, the girls made an apple pie from scratch.

I did not have any of the finished product as it was full of gluten and apples, both a no-no when it comes to eating low FODMAP. So, I didn’t have any of the finished product.  Problem is, I had little nibbles of crust and apples as I helped the girls make the pie.  It’s not because I don’t know gluten and apples are a no-no according to low FODMAP eating.  I know they are, but sometimes, okay, often, I think, “all of this special eating is silly.  I don’t have food allergies so I am probably making a big deal out of nothing.”    I begin to feel ridiculous for the demands I make when it comes to food.  I tell myself I am just doing it to be a pain in the butt or feel “special,” so I stop.  I eat pie crust.  I eat sliced apples.

And then, within an hour or so, I find out eating low FODMAP is important, it does improve my life, it is worth the extra effort.  I was so sick last night I could hardly sit up during dinner.  My stomach hurt, my body was overcome with weakness.  I even had hubby take Sue to her play practice and I sat down on the couch and watched an entire movie…I have no idea when the last time was I watched a whole tv program at home, let alone a movie.  I just don’t sit that long.

Ignoring the rules of eating low FODMAP literally knocked me on my butt.  Lesson learned, for a while…

That was our day.  The Pie and the Pi of it.