Today was our “SUN” Day of the year!! We have decided every year, instead of taking off for “snow” days like the schools do, we work on those days and then when the weather turns nice, we get a “SUN” day! We celebrate the warm weather and get out there and ENJOY it!
The weather was about 70 degrees here today. After a very cold and wet winter, it felt great to close the books and just have fun outdoors! First we went to a local farm. The kids visited the animals and we played outside for awhile. Then we bought some fresh fruits and veggies at the market and some ice cream! We came home and the kids spent the entire afternoon outside. They played a game using their imagination by building a whole “house” on our front porch. The game went on for hours. It was GREAT! And we got lots of Vitamin D! 🙂
My son Luke turned 7 today! What an exciting day. We had dinner out, family Wii night, and lots of desserts. He also got the Lego Minsdstorms NXT. He actually saved his own money and paid for half of it. All in all, it was a fantastic day! Homeschooling was also good today. On Friday John received his new Explode the Code Primer Book B in the mail. He finished it today! No joke, he was so excited about it, he started it Friday night and finished it today. I will order Book C next! Grace also finished up SpellWell 3rd grade last week, and began Book C this week. (4th grade) It is more challenging for her and she is enjoying it. We’re reading about The Thirteen Colonies in History, and about Jupiter in Science. All is going smoothly overall. There have been some struggles with keeping everyone focused. I think we are all just READY for Spring!!! 🙂
Aside from homeschooling, it’s been a busy and exhausting past week. Lots of things going on in all areas of our lives. I am so grateful that no matter what comes our way, we can rest in God’s promises. His plans are always good, and even in the midst of emotional or physical weakness, He carries us each day. I read in my devotion the other morning, to stop and think about the Lord every time during the day that I started to get overwhelmed. It has really been helping. As soon as I focus on Him, everything becomes easier.
I have been thinking alot about simplifying lately. In a world where people are so weighed down by “stuff” and the more “stuff” you have, the more you want, our family has become somewhat the opposite. We don’t have cable tv, and don’t watch much tv; we really don’t buy very many toys, but are given many hand-me downs~the same goes for clothes. We also enjoy a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing home, yet I don’t make it a huge priority, meaning I wouldn’t spend a great amount of money or time on making things look “just right.” I’ve been feeling lately that the material things are so not important.
I have also been enjoying reading some great articles about organizing the home, and simplifying. Heart of the Matter online had a great one today. I am planning a BIG spring clean/purge in the next few weeks of our house. The whole family will be involved. Another “real life” learning event! I know when the home is orderly, we all function better. I also want to make it a priority to teach the kids good organization skills. For some of them it comes naturally, and some of them it doesn’t. Yet this is a skill they all need. It helps our family so much when we are organized. So out with all of the “stuff” that weighs us down, and just keep the important. More on that to come…
We’re in the midst of a “blizzard” here. Supposed to get up to 18 inches of snow! While most kids are rejoicing today in a “snow day” from school, we have used the opportunity to actually get more done! One of my favorite things about homeschooling is to not take many days off during the winter, but when the spring weather comes, we will have a “SUN day!” We will take off the first nice day there is. After all, wouldn’t we rather take a day off when we can go outside and enjoy the warmth!! So today since we could not go anywhere, we stayed in our Pj’s and got to work. It’s nice working when we have no other distractions, and know that we have all day to get our work complete. Everyone (including Mommy!) is so much more relaxed! Today in science we completed our lesson on space rocks. We then attempted to construct a scale model of the solar system. The first part of the model just compared sizes of the planets. We uses a big ball for the sun, and then sprinkles, sugar crystals, nuts, and candy to compare the sizes of the planets. Next we learned the distances. If we truly wanted to make our model to scale, would need one half mile to fit in all the planets! And that was a scale of 1:10,000,000! So we discussed the distances, but were not able to actually show the distances with our model planets. It was quite interesting though. In History, the kids wrote in their notebooks some of the many inventions of Ben Franklin that we have learned about. We discussed them and then each child picked one to research further. Grace is going to write a report on her choice. (the odometer) We also began learning “America the Beautiful.” This is partly hymn study, and part of our history studies. We are going to memorize all of the verses, and for today’s copywork the kids each wrote the first few lines. After our together time today, we did not use our workboxes. Rather I spent alone time with each child, going over all of their individual work. One thing I have changed with Grace’s literature reading is rather than give me an oral narration after each reading, she is now to do a written narration in her journal. I am focusing more on her writing for the rest of this year. This will be helpful in improving her writing, as well as reinforcing what she has read in her literature.
I think God gives us these snow days in the midst of the long winter for a reason. It’s definitely a nice change of pace to just be indoors and take things a little slower. Everyone’s mindset changes, and we get a much needed change of pace. The winter can be a tough time for many people, especially homeschoolers, so having that little time to break up the monotony is great. I will praise Him in the storm!
We had a really good week this week in our homeschool. Partly because we had some outside events that got cancelled due to snow or other reasons, making for lots of extra time home to do schoolwork. We were able to really take our time and not rush. The kids always learn better this way. We can take lots of time on each subject and really get into our studies.
This week in History we are continuing our studies on Ben Franklin. We are reading aloud the book Ben and Me, which is awesome! We also read Ingrid D’Auliare’s Benjamin Franklin, and a few other shorter books on Ben as well. I have also assigned Grace a historical fiction book which takes place in Philadelphia in 1776 to read on her own.
In Science we are learning about space rocks. We’ve looked at lots on information online about comets, meteorites, etc.
John has done some fun kindergarten activities this week and has begun learning his continents and oceans. He also did a fun scavenger hunt around the house, where he used a digital camera to take pictures of his findings. We were working on his numbers, so I had him go around the house using his camera to find things that were in groups of 2,3,4, etc. He really had fun!
Grace and Luke are both progressing well in Math U See, and they are getting close to the end. If they finish the lessons before the end of the school year, we will most likely start up the next level in spring. It doesn’t hurt to be ahead!
I also spent some extra time with Grace working on writing. Her spelling has improved this year greatly with SpellWell, and now we are focusing on grammar and sentence structure. She has great ideas and is a great writer, and I try to follow the Charlotte Mason method, and know that the grammar will come naturally next.
The most fun we had this week was playing in the snow! We didn’t get a whole lot of snow, but enough to get outside and play in it, making snowmen, snow forts, etc. We even read a book about snow and how snowflakes develop up in the clouds.
I really try to get the kids outside every afternoon for unstructured play. It is so important for them to have this. I love that Nature’s classroom is right outside the door! Children need to learn on their own, explore, and enjoy God’s creations. So we bundle up, and get out as much as we can. Ethan enjoyed his first walk out in the snow too! He is officially walking and babbling away. Here are some clips of our fun!