Friday, June 20, 2014

Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up 6/20


So folks, the last I wrote we had a list of summer reading titles to obtain from the library. Oh, but that was a memorable visit.

As I mentioned, our van possibly had a slowly failing fuel pump. The boys and I went to the library after dinner one night (leaving the girls with Daddy) so as to avoid taking Mary, who is suffering from anxiety and couldn't take another stranding in the van.

Being an optimist, I felt the van could make it to the library and the auto parts store and back home. I wanted to test a theory about the gas cap anyhow, and I knew the boys weren't going to have an anxiety attack if I was wrong. If we wait long enough, the pesky van starts after it fails us, usually within an hour.

We finished at the library right at closing time, and we were still in the parking lot at midnight. And no fireflies yet to distract the boys from our plight. The library is located in a rather sleepy university town located next to our small township. It was a quiet night, with only the insects and train sounds to keep us company, and occasional traffic. Until a group of older teen or college student boys came loitering, around 11:15 PM. They weren't drunk, but they were acting all ridiculous, as though they were on something. Or is that just how 17- or 18-year-old boys behave? All "dude" this and "dude" that. "Dude" was their main vocabulary word, besides "chick". "Dude, can you believe that chick? Isn't she fine?"

Then they called one of these "chicks" and I'm happy to report that the "fine" chick hung up on these misguided boys, who were only out to impress each other anyway. There was plenty of cussing going on too, and I was horrified that my boys were hearing all this worldliness.

We stayed very quiet because we didn't want them to know we were there, though our windows were down because of the humidity. I didn't know if they were the criminal type, or just didn't have anything better to do that night. There were two other cars in the library parking lot besides ours, unoccupied.

Finally, they did notice us and it turned out that they were harmless. They asked if I was an undercover cop and I said that no, I was just waiting for roadside assistance for my vehicle. They wanted to help but I respectfully declined. About twenty minutes later, they left, thankfully.

It was a teachable moment, after they left. I told my boys never to speak about women the way those boys did. I told them God expects men to love and protect women, to be strong for them, and to honor them. Those boys didn't stand up for what was right, but only went along with their friends, trying to impress each other. It was all about the boys' images, rather than about right or wrong. I told my boys that when they got to college, there would be many boys like that--the ones who hadn't grown up yet and didn't know who they were. They were to choose their friends wisely, paying particular attention to how important image was to the friend. The more important image is, the more worldly the person.

The boys didn't pick up on the cuss words, thank goodness. The Lord protected even when I couldn't.

My assessment after 11:30 PM was that the fuel pump was done playing tricks with us after these 12 long weeks. It was finished and needed to be replaced.

My husband's car couldn't accommodate all of us, plus the girls were home asleep, so my uncle, who regularly stays up until 3 or 4 in the morning, came to get the boys and me. My boys have never stayed up later than 11 PM before (and that only on the Fourth of July) but they did great. I let them do whatever they wanted the following day, knowing it wasn't a day to make any demands on them.

And the next morning before work my husband went to the library parking lot and that pesky van was cold and it did start. He drove it here and got us all out of bed so we could help him get it to our mechanic's house. We'll most likely be grounded until Monday or Tuesday. VBS starts Monday evening and I do hope we can make that.

On to homeschool news:

I finished reading Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski, which both boys will start next week, while I pre-read a couple of other books for them, including Preacher's Boy by Katherine Paterson.


Peter, age 12, is reading Hardy Boys Mysteries, after failing to develop any interest in them in the prior two years. I did some research and found that the main series started in 1927 and were written up until 2005, under the ghostwriter name Franklin Dixon. I believe there are 66 of the original series. Spin-offs were written after that, but I wonder if they are as wholesome as the originals?

I read every Nancy Drew Mystery when I was Peter's age. I sped through one after the other, hardly coming up for a breath, and I can see Peter doing that this summer, notwithstanding his time outside (I wasn't an outdoor kid like he is). There's a summer reading incentive program at the library and that got him started, but he's been pleasantly surprised at how good the stories are. He'll probably read a chapter a day of what I assign him, and then read his Hardy Boys for fun.

The boys have really enjoyed a 2012 Usborne book entitled Space which they found at the library, pictured below by Louie Stowell. They're done with Sonlight Science so they're looking for more Usbornes, which are their favorite science resources.


They're also going through the science experiment book below, finding neat things to do according to what we have on hand. I have never worried about hands-on anything because my children are by nature hands-on people who envision, set up and conduct their own experiences, sometimes driving my husband and me crazy with what they "borrow", break, or otherwise use up. But we are very forgiving; we have to be, being homeschoolers.

The neighbors sometimes shake their heads at the messes in our yard, I am sure. There are some crazy contraptions and schemes visible from their porches, including little "garden plots" dug up here and there in the grass, which I'm sure make the neighbors scratch their heads. We let the kids use the yard as their own, but every couple days I go on a high horse and make them neaten it up, telling them we simply must be respectful of the neighbors and not spoil their view too much.


Mary and I, with the help of Daddy and sometimes Peter, are still working our way through the Sonlight science program I purchased for her first grade year. We are also still doing Sing Spell Read Write for first grade, along with easy readers on hand at home and from the library.

We are still working in Susan Wise Bauer's writing resources, Writing With Skill Level 1 for the boys, and Writing With Ease Level 1 for Mary.

Summer Devotions: We are still doing devotions together but not always in the mornings, if that is the best time weatherwise for them to play outside. If the weather stays good all morning (rarely), we just do devotions after lunch. We're now done with all the books of the Bible assigned to us by Sonlight Core F. Without that printed schedule, we're now doing a "Summer in the Psalms", along with time at night in the Proverbs with Daddy, followed by round robin prayer both times. 

The children are still developing the discipline to pray for any sustained amount of time. Still, after all this time, they keep theirs pretty short, except for a couple exceptions per week. Having a schedule of things to pray for helps with their focus, but they still manage to keep it short and sweet. It's a matter of discipline of mind, I think. Prayer is a mental discipline that takes time and maturity.

Paul just finished The Tanglewood's Secret by Patricia St. John.


We buy our math programs in February with a tax refund so the boys are still working on sixth grade Teaching Textbook math and Mary is still working on Saxon First Grade math. My preschooler does math here and there in a Bob Jones kinder math workbook, and with our manipulative kit, but I don't push. I don't have time for a regular full kinder schedule for her anyway.

Next fall it will be a huge wake-up call for me to school her as a kinder student regularly along with her sister and two brothers. She knows her letters and sounds and can sound out some three letter words, but her hands have thus far not been ready for writing anything but capital letters. My life will change quite a bit next fall. I'm preparing for this change by slowly paring down outside commitments.

Mary also has been keen to read on her own for the library incentive program. This morning she read Hop On Pop to her sister and they both got to mark their library reading forms. After 20 hours of reading, they will be rewarded with a nice yard sign, which their brother Paul earned last year. It says "Home of a Library Super Reader". It was a proud day when he picked that sign up, let me tell you. He displayed it outside until late fall, and then brought it into his bedroom. Several smaller awards lead up to this big one, which God willing, Paul hopes to earn again this year. It will be harder for his sisters to earn one, but not impossible.

Peter is considered too old by our librarians to earn all these neat things. The librarians seem to ignore kids his age for the most part, except to encourage them to read graphic novels and other things I don't regard as worthy literature. They don't push classics or even Newbery Medal winners; rather, they push what they think the kids will read. For his first reading "award" they gave him a free book (an unproofed not-for-sale copy of a book). In response to his complaints on the way home, I told him that to run a library it takes millions of dollars, which shocked him. Growing out of things like VBS and AWANA and neat library incentives is proving to be hard for him. He doesn't see himself as different from his siblings...yet. Though his body is telling him otherwise.

Kinda like me being 48 and not feeling like a women soon to be 50, though the mirror is saying something different.

Trade Books to Share:

New trade books for 2014:

A Child's Introduction to Art: The World's Greatest Paintings and Sculptures by Heather Alexander


Synopsis: The newest volume in Black Dog's best-selling, award-winning Child's Introduction series explores the fascinating world of art and artists and includes do-it-yourself art projects throughout.

In the tradition of Black Dog's best-selling Child's Introduction books, which include The Story of the Orchestra and A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky, A Child's Introduction to Artintroduces kids ages 9 through 12 to the art world's most famous painters, styles, and periods, all brought to life through full-color photographs of 40 masterpieces, as well as charming original illustrations.

The book highlights 40 painters and sculptors, including Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Diego Velasquez, Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Mary Cassatt, and Andy Warhol, providing information on their life, inspirations, influences, technique, and a full-color photo of one of their signature works of art. It also includes an overview of various styles and periods (Renaissance, Impressionism, Cubism, etc.), instruction on how to view and appreciate art, and information on the color wheel and other tools artists employ.

Fun art projects throughout, such as Can You Find It?, Q-tip pointillism, making a stained-glass window with tissue paper, and Spatter Paint like Pollock, allow kids to learn about painting techniques and explore their own artistic abilities. Also includes five masterpiece paintings to color.

Meredith Hamilton's witty illustrations add another dimension to the excellent text and photographs.

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In New York by Marc Brown


SynopsisMarc Brown now calls New York City home, and with In New York, he shares his love for all that the city has to offer and all that it stands for, including the way it's always changing and evolving. From its earliest days as New Amsterdam to the contemporary wonders of Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, and the Empire State Building, to the kid-appealing subway, High Line, and so much more, Marc's rollicking text and gorgeous illustrations showcase what he's come to adore about New York after fulfilling his life-long dream to live in the city he fell in love with during a childhood visit. 

This is at once a personal story from the beloved creator of Arthur, a useful primer for first-time travelers on what to see and do with kids in the Big Apple, and a perfect keepsake after a visit. It's also a great gift for anyone who loves New York, the Crossroads of the World. New York! New York! It's a heckuva town!

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The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara


SynopsisPerfect for bedtime reading, pay a visit to the Midnight Library where you can snuggle up for a nighttime story.There is a little library that only opens at night. In the library there is a little librarian—and her three assistant owls—who helps everyone find the perfect book. The library is always peaceful and quiet . . . until one night when some of the animals stir up a little trouble (and a little fun!) in the Midnight Library.

From Kazuno Kohara, creator of the New York Times Best Illustrated book Ghosts in the House! comes a beautiful book brimming with cozy charm.

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(2011 Published) Love Twelve Miles Long by Glenda Armand


Synopsis: I's late at night, and Frederick's mother has traveled twelve miles to visit him. When Frederick asks Mama how she can walk so far, Mama recounts her journey mile by mile. Every step of the way is special, as it brings them closer together; and Mama passes the time by remembering, listening, praying, singing, and more. Set on a plantation in 1820s Maryland, this story based on the life of young Frederick Douglass shows the power of his mother's love. The faith she has in her son puts him on a path to escape enslavement and to become a champion of human rights, an influential writer and speaker, and an unforgettable leader. Expressive, candlelit paintings illuminate the bond between parent and child in this heartfelt story. Love Twelve Miles Long will resonate with children of all backgrounds who cherish the tender moments they share with those they love.

This is Glenda Armand's first book and boy does she have talent. I loved every word!

How was your week? What are you reading and enjoying?

Weekly Wrap-Up

3 comments:

multicolouredsmartypants.com said...

My girls love The Tanglewoods Secret! We have it on DVD and we also have Treasures of the Snow on DVD and as an mp3. I also found a wonderful version of Heidi on DVD. I think I enjoy them just as much as the children.

I agree with you about using the more unsavoury moments of life as teaching opportunities. You do such a good job - such a dedicated mother :-)

Christine said...

Sandy, I would love to find a good movie version of Heidi. When you have time can you give me any details from the front of the DVD that will help me find it? Thank you! I found an old movie section in my local library so even if it is old I may be able to find it. Thanks again! Heidi is one of my favorite children's literature stories!

Tesha Papik said...

OH bummer about the van. Saying a payer it is fixed and was not to expensive!