Friday, February 20, 2015

Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up 2/20

Outside my window:

Outside here in northeast Ohio we're having the coldest winter in at least ten years, which is about how long we've lived here. Tonight it will be 13 below--and not just wind chill. My husband is depressed about having to get out of bed in the morning to face it, being a winter hater. Usually, I balk at complaining about the weather, rolling my eyes at those who view snow and cold as the anti-Christs, but even we die-hard optimists are tired of the cold this year.

Inside Our Homeschool:

I mentioned last week that my boys, ages 11 and 13, are abandoning Sonlight Core G (World History Part 1), only to take up Sonlight Core H instead (World History Part 2, the last 500 years). We'll finish the Core G at another time.

We'll be using Core H's Bible, History/Literature, some of their language arts writing lessons based upon the readers, and all the read-alouds. So basically, the whole curriculum will be enjoyed.

They've delved in joyfully and I'm so pleased. I put each synopsis for the books in red type, so if you're not interested just skip all the red type. Here is the first reader:

The King's Fifth
Set in the year 1541

Amazon reader synopsis: (by reader Chatelaine) Esteban was a cartographer, or map maker, on a ship on the coast of South America. Their ship was to rendezvous with another to make a search for the Cities of Gold. One of the officers aboard the ship wants to mutiny, and strike out to search for the cities, in hopes of collecting even more gold and fame. He talks Esteban into accompanying him, along with some others.

They travel and encounter all kinds of dangers from nature and from the natives. They ask the people they come across for gold, but to them, it is not important. Esteban and his companions find it all important. As they travel on toward the Cities of Gold, their lust for gold gains a tighter and tighter grip upon them. At the beginning, Esteban marveled at the way the desire for gold had warped others, but later on, he ceases to care for others, and is willing to sacrifice whatever and whoever may come between him and the riches his soul so greedily craves. He ends up with a great amount of gold, which he tries to carry back with him. Eventually, he sees that his greed was killing him, and deposits the gold where it can never be recovered.

The story is told from Esteban's prison cell. It is the law to give one fifth of all discovered treasure to the king of Spain. The chapters alternate with Esteban recalling his journey through South America, and his recording what is happening in the prison. He says his indictment is true; he did discover treasure, and he did not give the king his fifth. His prosecutors and jailor are not so much concerned with the king's fifth, however. They want to know where the treasure is, so they can find it. They ask for maps, which Esteban draws; but he says they will never find it. Even he, who knows where it is, could never find it. He is offered his freedom from his sentence if he will be a guide to the gold, but he turns it down. He has realized that, after all, the gold is not important. He has learned what is important, and when he has served his sentence, he will pursue the things and people that matter.

Bible Devotionals

Sonlight Cores come with assigned daily Bible verses, as well as accompanying devotionals. There are five devotionals for teens/tweens in Core H, the first being The BBC Manual: Turning Your Bedroom into a Bible College:

SynopsisThe Bible, What A Book! No other book has influenced the world like the Bible. No other book has sold more copies, been translated into more languages, yet suffered as much persecution as the Bible. A miraculous compilation of 66 different book, written over a period of 1,600 years by over 40 different authors, yet possessing a supernatural unity from Genesis to Revelation. Impossible, if written by many minds, yet possible if written by one God through the hands of many men (II Peter 1:21). The Bible is God's marvelous "love letter" to man. 
FEED "Feeding" on the Word of God is much easier when you learn the principles of observations. "How to Read the Bible" and "How to Study the Bible" will help you unearth the treasures found in God's Word. Bible study sheets and Bible reading plans will help you to "chart" your progress as you get a "grip" on the Word. 
HEED Meditation is the key to "good success." Moving the Word of God from your head into your heart is the goal of Biblical meditation. Practical pointers on how to get God's Word into your mind and heart will make memorization and meditation a delight. 
DEED Learning to apply God's Word to your life is the goal of a devotional walk with God. Determining your objectives, defining your goals and developing your action plan will help you to "deed" the Word, not only "read" the Word. Climb the staircase to realized objectives. Gregg Johnson is a gifted speaker, writer and musician. Gregg travels internationally ministering to tweens and their parents, young people, youth pastors and adults in camps, conferences and churches. At 14 Gregg turned his bedroom into a Bible College and his devotions became a delight.

On Fridays they'll be reading Don't All Religions Lead to God?

SynopsisInsightful comparison of Christianity to several other key religions. Concise, accessible arguments against today's tolerant culture and for faith in Jesus. An easy-to-read apologetics work.

The History spine includes The Story of the World Volume 3: Early Modern Times, and The Story of the World Volume 4: Modern Times. Two other spine books included are The Usborne Encyclopedia of the World (I have the 2009 edition), and The Kingfisher Encyclopedia.

Volume 3 in this series covers the major historical events in the years 1600 to 1850, as well as includes maps, illustrations, and biographies.

This captivating guide to the history of other lands is written in an engaging, straightforward manner and weaves world history into a story book format that is entertaining and easy to read.

As always, I'm very impressed with Sonlight. I didn't dislike the novels from Core G, which we abandoned. It's just that the topics were mature for my boys' ages, more so than Core H novels as a whole. Each child is different and you can't always go by suggested ages. We'll get back to those books in the next couple years.

K and 2nd Grade News

The girls, ages 6 and 8, are still enjoying Sonlight Core B books, read to them by myself and by my two boys. They are also doing All About Reading Level 1 and 2, and All About Spelling Level 1. Mary, age 8, will be finishing both her spelling and reading soon, and we move on to Level 3 in reading and level 2 in spelling.

All About Reading Level 1, for Beth, age 6 - learning /ch/ and /sh/ consonant blends. The mouse gets to eat the cheese (words written on back of the cheese pieces) if child can read the words correctly.

All About Spelling Level 1 - Learning when to use /c/ at the beginning of a word, and when to use /k/. Student is taught to leave the slot for the /c/ sound blank, and go on spelling the rest of the word. Then, go back to the /c/ sound and use the spelling rule. C says /s/ before e, i, and y, to decide whether to use a c or k. Always try c first. 

All About Reading Level 1 - Learning /ch/ and /sh/
Kitty gets to help read the words. Stuffed animals go to school too around here.

Drawing books used for their daily drawing time, during morning devotions. We started this so the six year old would stay still during devotions, which is sometimes a problem. 
Personal reading time for Mary, age 8.
All About Reading Level 2 - Gerbil game for practicing the rule: G says /j/ before e, i, or y.

Read each word as gerbil goes through his "cage".

Melissa and Doug Body Puzzle, 2-sided

Learning how to make a stitch. Paul is teaching Beth, which resulted in two needle pokes and some tears;, after which my six-year-old started making a doll from felt pieces and glue instead.
This is Mary's "workshop" pose, used when she really needs to concentrate to decode a word. She's a hoot. I love teaching my own kids!

In case you think we are rich and can afford Guess jeans, let me just say those were brand new jeans from a thrift store for $2.50. I don't buy any new clothes, except socks and underwear and sometimes winter coats and shoes. If you are willing to look through every child's garment on the racks at Goodwill, your kids can come out looking quite nice...and you too for that matter. You just need a two-hour chunk of time about every couple months to store up for future seasons and sizes, taking from the best they have.
Health News
Beth's eye muscle surgery to correct wandering eyes (strabismus) will be on April 2. She also goes for another infusion of Orencia next Tuesday, which she is dreading. Still no side effects so far from this new medicine. The swelling in her arthritic knees is down slightly, but the full effect won't come for a couple months. She is now taking two immunosuppressants and it's hard not to be concerned about her getting sick. I am trusting God, but I have to keep giving it to Him. I hate sitting in the waiting room, too, when someone undergoes surgery. I always imagine--what happens if they never come out of anesthesia? How will I make it through that? Then I remind myself how rare that is, but it's still incredibly nerve wracking.

Other News
It was a shorter week. We took Monday off for President's Day, but it was too frigid to go anywhere. Then Tuesday we took off to deep clean and organize the bedrooms, which were all an eyesore. Everything still looks spiffy in all the bedrooms, which is so nice!

Compassion International News

Compassion International took a team of bloggers to the Dominican Republic this week. I love to support Compassion International! See my highlight of favorite Dominican Republic posts here. I think of the four Compassion children we write to as my own children. I feel wholly invested in their lives and hopes and dreams, and in their spiritual growth. I just know you will be changed, and your children too, if you sponsor a child. Outside of being a mom and wife and daughter of the King, writing to these children is my greatest joy! The Lord loves the little children and He loves it when we speak life into them. We represent Him when we love a child and give the gift of Hope.

Difference Between World Vision and Compassion International

Different than World Vision, Compassion International works with local churches to administer their program, which uplifts these children and their families spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. 84% of your $38/month sponsorship money goes directly to the children so they can attend the Child Development Center (at the local church, administered through Compassion staff), and receive health care, Bible teaching and discipleship, emergency food, supplemental food, and school fees and uniforms, and benefit from parenting, nutrition, vocational, and hygiene classes. Every child or family gift you send goes directly to the family, which is not true of World Vision, which operates a far less direct organization, using a different approach (bottom-down approach--change the neighborhoods to change individual outcomes).

Compassion goes with the family to the marketplace to spend your gift money, and helps them analyze their needs and how best to use the money. In this manner, local economies are stimulated. You receive a photo of the child next to all that was purchased with your gift money. Understand that you are not required to send any gift money. The letters you send make the most impact on these families. They treasure them like gold, rereading them for years. Many of these children are never told they are loved, until they receive a sponsor and start going to the Compassion Child Development Center, where staff love on them two to three times weekly, after school and on Saturdays. Their parents are in survival mode, and showering love on their children isn't part of their daily reality, which is characteristic of abject poverty households generally speaking, but not in all countries.

The difference between World Vision and Compassion International is that Compassion invests heavily in one child and that child's family, and through that intense investment, changes a whole neighborhood for Christ. The bottom-up approach, with the pastor of the local church and church attenders helping the whole process along as well, partnering with Compassion staff.

Neighborhood children are enrolled and their families are helped in emergencies even before their child is chosen by a sponsor (but they can't attend center activities unless they have a sponsor). World Vision does work with families, but less directly. They hope to change things by also changing the community the children live in, but without the discipleship involved in Compassion International's approach. World Vision works even in regions where the Bible and Christ are forbidden topics, and you cannot mention anything about these topics in your letters to children in those regions.

Compassion only administers their program where they can use the name of Jesus and bring Bibles and Bible teaching. You as a sponsor are encouraged to speak spiritual life and hope into your child through regular letters (hopefully at least monthly letters). They need to know that poverty need not define them. Your child will write back to you three times a year at the very least, or after every one of your letters, depending on the staff available to help the children. My children answer almost every one of my letters.

How was your week? Thank you for reading here. Bless you!

Weekly Wrap-Up

Sharing with other moms at this link-up, here.


Kay said...

That literature book sounds great! I just logged it for our use in history. I also think I will be looking at those devotions for my older kids next year. We do Tapestry of Grace for history, but your books sound very helpful!

That study pose makes me think of my kiddos. They are fun, aren't they?? My boys often do math standing next to the table, swaying back and forth. They say it helps them add better in their brains. Hey, whatever works!! I hope the eye surgery goes well. I hate it when my kiddos go under. :-(

Christine said...

Thank you, Kay, for taking the time to visit and comment today! Thinking of you as you balance college and homeschooling. You do a wonderful job with your children.

Beth Bullington said...

I enjoyed your photos of the week. I miss buying clothing at the thrift stores. I think right now Miss K has about 6 Lands End dresses that came from thrift stores.