Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Homeschool Week 10: Pulling Our Weight

Our second nine weeks got off to a great start.  Here is a look at what we did.

Our Bible lessons were on Jacob marrying Rachel (and Leah), his return home, and his reunion with his brother Esau.  Cruz began learning a new passage Psalm 34: 14-19.  He had previously memorized verses 8-13.  By Christmas break he should be able to recite them all together.  We had three new songs this week- "America the Beautiful", "Come Ye Thankful People Come", and "Fairest Lord Jesus".  There is not much more precious than hearing Cruz walk around singing that last one!  Our Doctrinal Drill was on Heaven.

Our language lessons kicked into high gear this week.  It seems that the first nine weeks were more of a review but now we are moving right along rather quickly.  This week we covered short vowel a.  He had 62 vocabulary words to read, spell, and write.  He completed his first storybook reader for the year.  It contained three short stories.  He learned singular and plural.  He learned that people's names always begin with a capital letter.  He began learning sentence structure.  This week we focused on starting our sentences with a capital letter and putting a finger space between words.  At the end of the week he took his first assessment test.  He will begin having those regularly.  He only missed one out of 80 questions.  I was very pleased!

Cruz reading one of his stories.  What a blessing to know that I am helping him learn that skill!

practicing singular and plural

practicing finger spacing and writing capital letters at the beginning of sentences

Hooray for making progress in language!!!

Ben began learning the letters of the alphabet and their sounds.  This week we covered letter A.  He also did some visual discrimination activities focusing on big/ little, up/ down, and over/ under.  For filler he does a lot of coloring, cutting, gluing, puzzles, sorting, and tracing.  He is very easy to entertain. He can keep himself quiet and busy for long periods of time. It is a big help while I work with Cruz. 

Ben writing letter A

I gave him a magazine and he had to cut pictures of things that are big and little.  Here he is gluing his pictures onto a poster board.

This week he also began learning a memory verse a week that goes along with our letter of the week.  We are using the Alphabet Bible Memory Cards from the Abeka Bible curriculum.  Here he is saying Romans 3:23 for letter A.

In Math Cruz focused on Addition +8.  Ben was counting to 20 and writing numbers 1-8. 

Ben working a math puzzle.

Our History lessons were on Benjamin Franklin.  The boys enjoyed learning about some of the things he invented.

Benjamin Franklin

His activity for the week was to make his own invention.  First he had to draw it out and then, if possible, try to build it.  He drew a tower. 

building his tower

He wanted to make it taller than his brother.  When I asked him what type of tower it was he responded "this is Trump Tower".  I had to laugh a little.  It was not an original invention but a funny one nonetheless. 

We learned about two States- Rhode Island and Vermont.

Our Science topic was pulleys.  You can imagine the boys surprise when in the middle of school one day I ask them to go get their pulley and a rope.  They knew it was time for Science and they squealed with excitement.  They play with their pulley all the time so this lesson was not new to them but they still enjoyed it.
First we used a jug of water, a rope, and a rolling pin to make our own pulley experiment.


We then took their real pulley outside and did a few lifting experiments. 

In addition to these activities we watched several YouTube videos on how pulleys work.  It was a fun lesson for the boys.

In Health we talked about the importance of having good posture.  We practiced sitting, standing, and walking.  They especially enjoyed trying to balance a book on their head while walking.  It was fun until they realized that the super loud noise of the book hitting the tile floor was more fun and they starting making their books fall on purpose.  Boys!!! 

practice makes perfect, right?

This picture is a little blurry.  I took it over the weekend as we were traveling.  It is a lady with a basket on her head.  When Ben noticed her he yelled out from his seat "look!  that lady has great posture!".  We all got a good laugh from that.  I was glad that he had taken something that he learned in school and noticed it in real life. 

In Art we drew a baby mouse.

Here is part of our instructions.  I like the art book that we have- Pencil, Paper, Draw!  It can be a little challenging for them (especially Ben) but they like it too.  I don't expect them to draw it perfect. I draw it out on our white board and then they copy what I do.  To me it's more about them learning to follow each individual instruction and practice eye hand coordination.   We do not have a set day/ time that we do art each week.  I save it for an afternoon to give them something to do when they get restless.  It seems more of a fun activity for them than thinking of it as school work. 

Cruz also did a crayon rubbing craft from his Abeka Art book.   We went for a walk and picked several different sizes of leaves to use. 

He had to cut out the frame pieces and glue them on his picture.  It turned out pretty.

He was proud of his craft.

He enjoyed it so much that the next day he and Ben went out leaf collecting and made another one.  They really liked this activity!

It was another great week filled with learning and fun.  Cruz randomly asked me over the weekend, "mama, do you remember that time we made those scrolls and we burned the edges?  That was fun!".  It was a memory from a kindergarten Bible lesson.  It made me beam with joy to know that he remembered it.  I hope that when he thinks back to these years one day that memories like that will stick out in his head and he'll remember the time we spent together and the little things we did to make his education fun.  That little statement made all my hard work seem worth it. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Life Lately In Our Little Part Of The World

I have not posted much lately about life around here.  I usually post more when I have photos and I just haven't taken many photos lately outside of school.  This post will be a little of everything with a few photos of the boys thrown in.

A few Saturday nights ago the boys asked us if we could "do church".  What they meant was doing a mock service similar to what we do when our teams are here.  They do not always sit down and appear to be listening but they do somehow soak it all in.  Just the other day I overheard Cruz walking around the house singing "Mighty to Save".  When I asked him if he liked that song his response was "yes, I learned it from the teams".  Our teams come down to help make an impact on our work but in the process they are also making a big impact on our family.  We are blessed with the good partnerships that we have and the way they are helping point our boys to Christ.

Cruz getting ready to "preach" at our Saturday night service

Ben singing a song at our service

Sunday nights have become our family devotion nights.  After a sermon I listened to recently I was challenged to begin having one.  I chose a devotion book that I have had for a while that I picked up at a book fair a few years back. It is an old book but I am enjoying the lessons it teaches. It is 52 devotions on building character in your children.  Each week we read a short story that focuses on a specific character trait.  We read scripture and answer a few discussion questions about the story.  We pray and have a weekly memory verse that we learn together as a family.  We usually practice that memory verse every morning at breakfast.  Our "service" doesn't take very long and I love that it provides an open discussion platform about that trait that we can reiterate throughout the week.  The boys love it and get very excited when the time comes to do a new story.  Do you have a time that you sit down and have a devotion with your family?  If not I'd love to challenge you to begin.  It's a sweet time and will have a great impact on your kids (and you too).  

Last week we had three Bible studies in the mountains.  It began with a special Wednesday night service that David preached at in the village of Porto Suelo.  There was a great turnout and many were able to hear the gospel.  Miguel traveled with David which made me happy because it was really late when he returned. I was glad he was not by himself. 

David in Porto Suelo

We were in Muyurco on Thursday afternoon.  I didn't take any photos but it was a really sweet service.  Several of the kids came prepared to be a part of the service.  We had three little girls get up to sing together.  We had one little boy sing and another little boy read scripture.  It just blessed my heart to have them participate.  They are the future and I am thankful that we have an opportunity to invest in their lives.  Would you pray for the children that are a part of our Bible study there? 

Sunday David taught in the village of Nearar.  That study is going strong.  They are continuing with their building plans.  They are currently most excited about an upcoming anniversary service that they are planning for early November.   It will take place on the property that they have purchased for the future church site.   They are inviting several guests to come and we are anticipating a big time together.  Would you be in prayer for that special service?  It will take place on Saturday night November 5.  

We began last weekend with late Friday afternoon dental cleanings.  It wasn't the most fun way to kick off the weekend but was necessary.  The boys do great at the dentist.  They rarely ever cry or complain when we have to go.  That is a blessing.

Ben getting his teeth cleaned

Afterwards we took them to the mall food court to play and eat supper.  While they played David and I shared this yummy chocolate banana crepe-

yum, yum, yum!

And speaking of yummy things I recently did a little baking.  One of my favorite fall traditions is baking chocolate chip pumpkin bread.  My boys love it!  I made six loaves.  It freezes really well.  I usually give a few loaves away and freeze a few for another day.  It thaws out just as moist as if it was freshly baked.  It is definitely a family favorite.  

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Here is the recipe I use in case you would like to try it out: 
3 cups white sugar
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (or 1 3/4 cup fresh puree)
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. 
(optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts). 
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 3 9x5 inch loaf pans. In large bowl combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs. Beat until smooth. Blend in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Fold in chocolate chips (and nuts). Divide evenly into pans. Bake 1 hour or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Makes 3 loaves.

We are not always certain that we will get any pumpkins here.  When we do find them I get very excited!  David picked us up one recently on a visit to the grocery store and surprised us with it.  I jumped for joy!  They are terribly expensive here!  Sometimes we get the smaller sugar pumpkins but this year we only saw the large ones so we just bought one.  I usually let it sit out as decoration for a while but eventually cut it, bake it, and puree it.  We spend too much to just throw it out.  I use the puree to make more bread.  I always miss home the most during fall.  I miss the colors, the smells, and the feel of this time of the year back home.  Something about having a pumpkin just makes me feel warm inside.  It's the little things!

the boys seeing their pumpkin

The next day I let them decorate it.  One of our team members, Mrs. Anne, always brings or sends down the best holiday treats.  She was recently on our September team and brought down some great fall things for me and the boys.  One of those things was stickers to decorate a pumpkin.  We ended up giving our pumpkin two faces.  Cruz decorated one side and Ben decorated the other.  Each morning we spin it around to show the other face.

Ben decorating our pumpkin

Cruz decorating his side of our pumpkin

And in spite of it being the fall time of the year it definitely does not feel like it around here.  I'll end the post with a recent photo of the boys ready to go swimming.  I might miss fall but I also love getting to swim year round.  That too makes me feel a little warm inside.

ready for a swim

Happy Fall Y'all!  We'll be back in Muyurco this afternoon for Bible study and then getting ready for a weekend trip to Coban to attend a special service there.  We are thrilled at the idea of getting to be in a Kekchi church service again.  Would you pray for our travels and time there?  I'll post an update about it next week. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Homeschool Week 9: It Was Hair Raising

After taking a few days off last week we were ready to jump back into school full force.  A little break did us all good.  A little change of routine did too.  There is not much I love more these days than teaching my boys.  It brings me much joy but it also drains a lot of my energy.  It felt good to step away from it for a bit and get recharged before continuing on.  I've got my eyes set on Christmas break now and I believe we will make it there strong.

I don't really have a favorite subject but my favorite thing to teach is Bible.  I am pretty passionate about teaching my boys the Word of God.  I want them to get a firm foundation that we can build on in the years to come.  We begin our days with Bible and I put a lot of energy into that time slot.  This week our lessons were on Jacob and Esau (Esau trading his birthright and Jacob tricking his father).  We also had the story of Jacob's Ladder.  Our doctrinal drill was on Salvation.  One morning in snack I gave the boys some pretzel sticks and let them make a ladder. 

 Cruz had to recite the memory verses he has been learning.  Here he is saying Psalm 34: 8-13.

In Math Cruz's lessons covered addition +9 and mental math.  In addition to his worksheets I would call out problems like seven plus two plus eight equals what number?  He would have to figure out the problem in his head and tell me the answer.

Cruz working math problems

Ben's math lessons had him counting to 20 and recognizing numbers 1-8.  He also learned to write the number 8.  That was a challenge so we watched a few You Tube videos to help him learn.   I am thankful for resources like You Tube and Google to help me out in times of need.  
Here he is matching up the Math U See color blocks to the right number.  He won't officially begin learning that until K5 but thanks to listening in on his brother's lessons he already knows every one of them.

In language Cruz was reviewing blends.  Both boys got a new list of sight words to begin learning.  Ben's lessons covered visual discrimination- alike and different, sequencing, and matching. 

Ben matching up the letters of the alphabet. 

I love history.  I am relearning a lot.  We began the week by learning about William Penn.

William Penn

We also learned about Daniel Boone.  The boys really enjoyed this day!  They thought his story was very interesting.  We watched a You Tube video about him that they also enjoyed.

We made these Daniel Boone stick men.

While they were watching the video I hid stuffed animals around the house and put out tracks that led to each one.  They were very excited when I told them they were about to go on a hunt like Daniel to see what they could find.

bear tracks 

off on a wild hunt  

We learned about the State of North Carolina.  Each week in addition to watching tourism videos on each State we also watch a short video on You Tube called:  Two minute tour of ________.  Here is the one on North Carolina:

 Cruz's workbook sheet on North Carolina

coloring North Carolina on his workbook map

 finding North Carolina on our wall map

This is our new read aloud book that we began.  We are loving it and instead of reading just one chapter a night we have read two or three each night.  The boys keep asking for more.  We will most likely finish it early.

In Health we talked about the importance of getting enough sleep and how our bodies relax while we are resting.  I had them run up and down the hall three times and then feel how fast their hearts were beating.  After sitting down and resting a while we noticed the difference.  They thought it was fun.  We learned about some sleep habits of a few animals and compared them to the way humans sleep.  It was a fun week.

running down the hall

Science is their favorite!  We study it on Thursday and Friday.  I save it to give them something to look forward to.  They get so excited when Thursday arrives!  This week's lesson was on static electricity. 

Here I am rubbing a balloon on Cruz's head and then watching it make his hair stand up.  We did this numerous times on each other.  

Here is Ben doing it to himself while looking in the bathroom mirror.  They enjoyed this a lot.

We tied a Cheerio to a piece of string and suspended it from our table.  We charged our balloon and then used it to make the Cheerio swing.  

I love hands on learning!!!

We also took our balloon to the kitchen and made water curve.  That was really cool!

We rubbed our balloons on our heads and then used them to pick up pieces of tissue paper.

fun times!

Did you know that a static charged balloon would make an empty soda can roll?  I was a little skeptical but it worked.  This was my favorite experiment of the week. 

 Cruz testing out our experiment

We ended the week with them getting to watch a video while eating lunch.  That was a treat.  They watched an episode of "The Magic School Bus".  They are big fans!

In Art they had to draw a baby llama.

Ben wanted his to be like a rocking horse so he added a line across the bottom.  He makes me laugh.

We made these hand print spiders and have them hanging from our schoolroom door frame. 

My boys love art.  One of their favorite television shows lately is called Mister Maker.  The guy on the show makes all sorts of cool things.  One day after watching Cruz went into the schoolroom and made this.  He has it taped to our wall.  

it's a chicken eating a worm
He didn't have all the same supplies that the guy used so he came up with his own.  I thought he did good.  Check out the website for some great art ideas.  

And lastly here is a short video of Cruz practicing piano recently. He goes to lessons every Tuesday afternoon and is doing great.  He is playing one of his current favorites- Yankee Doodle.

We are now a quarter of the way through the school year.  It is passing quickly!  I know they are learning but what I am most proud of is the fun they are having while doing it.  Or maybe I'm the one that's having all the fun.  ha Who knows?  Either way these are precious days!
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