Friday, May 15, 2015

Weekly Homeschool and Life Wrap-up 5/15

Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

Giving Thanks This Week

~ Stomach virus only lasted one day

~ Mary mastered two more vowel digraphs for All About Reading

~ Weather nice for planting

~ Our new devotional book came and Mary already incorporated the first lesson into her day

~ Nice nurses at the hospital for Beth's infusion

~ Peter explaining Heaven to the neighbor boy he's been witnessing to (9-year-old boy thought heaven was a person)

~ Peter faithfully praying that the neighbor boy will grow in Christ and ask more questions

~ Curriculum sold fast to pay for this year's portfolio review and a Compassion child's birthday

~ Mary tries to read her Bible, but it is a full, NIV Bible, and she is in tears quickly because the reading level is just too high. I looked for a beginning reader's Bible she can read herself, and after researching, I found two. One I bought new, and the other used. They're not full Bibles, but they will work to help her get into the habit of a personal devotional time (we do a lot of family devotions, and I will read the full verses to her too, from the stories these books select)

buy here and see sample pages ($11.99)

This one has easier words than the above.
buy here and see sample pages ($12.99)
~ I tend to over commit myself at church. I was going to go to a meeting Wednesday evening about helping next year in AWANA. However, I got a stomach bug, which hardly ever happens to me, about three hours before the meeting. I already planned to help in this churches' nursery once a month, so the AWANA on top of that would have been too much. God made it clear, I think, that I was about to overextend myself. Hint taken. I believe every mom (or dad) who uses children's ministry should help in some way--10% of the people at most churches do 90% of the work, which is all wrong and unhealthy. But doing my part doesn't mean that as a homeschooling mom with special-needs children, I need to get involved weekly.

Activities this week

Origami, always a favorite with Paul and Mary, was a fine pursuit on a rainy day this week.

Ducks and ducklings

Peter teaching Mary, an experiment

Beth made this contraption as an airplane for her stuffed animals.

Paul continues with his computer programming classes on Khan Academy. Here he created a picture with a moving car, using commands. It's all Greek to me but he loves the challenge. 

Beth sketching birds from online images, because they just wouldn't stay still long enough at our bird feeders.

Planting time
Marigolds (Peter and the neighbor boy he is witnessing to)
Zinnias by the fence, two types of marigolds, morning glories (Mary and Paul)
and radishes and basil (Beth)

More planting will happen this weekend and next with Daddy (tomatoes, yellow squash, sweet banana peppers)

I don't know what else Peter has planned, but there is quite a bit more going in.

Here's my mess as I prepared to sell Sonlight Core F, which went fast

Since we bought the bread maker a few months ago, we've experimented with pizza crusts. Here's a whole wheat and all-purpose flour blend. I use the machine to mix and knead it for about 10 minutes, then I let it rise in a warm oven (about 180 degrees) for one hour. We started out prebaking it for five minutes after rolling it out in the pan, but this last time we didn't do that and it came out better. I still have not mastered the stretching it out, and it is still hard to get a circle or rectangle, but we love homemade pizza!

Paul found a sauce recipe and we just use, so far, lean Italian turkey sausage and mozzarella cheese for toppings. This weekend (we make it every Sunday) I will try a veggie pizza too, which just three of the six of us will enjoy. The others like just meat and cheese.

Middle Grades News (Sonlight Core H, World History, Part 2)

Paul and Peter are still reading Out of Many Waters (shared last week)

I preread the next reader, Stowaway, the day I was in bed with the stomach virus. It is outstanding!

Overview: It is known that in the summer of 1768, Captain James Cook sailed from England on H.M.S Endeavour, beginning a three-year voyage around the world on a secret mission to discover an unknown continent at the bottom of the globe. What is less known is that a boy by the name of Nicholas Young was a stowaway on that ship. Newbery winner Karen Hesse re-creates Cook's momentous voyage through the eyes of this remarkable boy, creating a fictional journal filled with fierce hurricanes, warring natives, and disease, as Nick discovers new lands, incredible creatures, and lifelong friends.

My Thoughts: I think the boys will really enjoy it. Just to give you an idea of how good it was, let me just say that it has 304 pages and I read it from 5 PM to 1 AM. I know...not a good idea to stay up late when one is sick, but I couldn't help myself and my stomach felt all hollow and yucky, so I wouldn't have fallen asleep well anyway.

This book is primarily about a young boy maturing over the three years he's at sea, from ages 11 to 14. Prior to that he was apprenticed to a butcher, who beat him mercilessly. He has scars from it, in fact, about which he remains mum when questioned. Prior to his time with the butcher, he'd run away from boarding school, where he was also beat, so his father, disappointed in him, boarded him with the butcher (giving up on his son's education). Two brothers pleased the father, doing well at school. Nick, the main character, changes from wanting to run away from his problems, to being prepared to take them on with honesty and courage. He also develops a yearning for knowledge, due to the many science observations some gentlemen engaged in on the ship, drawing from sea creatures and floral and fauna. This book is outstanding for all young boys (and girls, too, for that matter).

I've found that a majority of inspiring books for young people are primarily about a female lead. This one presents a nice change from that pattern. It's hard to develop our boys into great leaders without enough role models in modern history and in literature. Jesus is our primary teacher in how to behave, but boys can benefit from other role models as well.

The boy works extremely hard on the ship, which is a good message to all the young men these days who waste so much time with electronic games. I think these games are proving to be the downfall of many a young man, and young fathers too. We all do well to just. say. no. Young people have done well without these games for centuries, and I think historical fiction proves that to young men. Historically, children had much more responsibility and created their own fun in their spare time, which was often just on Sundays.

K and Second Grade News

I had Mary just review this week, reading over a few All About Reading Level 3 stories and going over her phonogram and word cards, to master several new sounds she had trouble with. Next week, we can move forward.

Mary tells me that journal writing is her favorite subject. Like her sister, she has dyslexia, but her strengths are different from Beth's. Dyslexics are good at spatial relationships, and rotating 3-dimensional objects in space, and for seeing patterns and relationships that many of us don't see. Beth is good at all this, but Mary has a different strength known in dyslexics--narrative. Many bestselling and established authors have dyslexia, and Mary has long had this strength, being the best of my children at narrating stories and events.

Paul has a much milder dyslexia, but he has both Mary's and Beth's strengths. Researchers are finding that they can spot dyslexics as much by their strengths, as by their reading, spelling, and penmanship deficits. Even when they grow to read well, they still typically read slowly, and their spelling is usually below average, with sloppy handwriting being common as well (but not universal, as they are still unique individuals).

Both girls still have difficulty writing, and recognizing the difference between, 6 and 9, and b and d. However, they're doing better at writing 7 and 3 correctly. They still don't, when seeing a 31 and 13, or 24 and 42, name it correctly right away. Two-digit numbers may always be a challenge. Even adult dyslexics indicate that telling the difference is not automatic for them.

The general concepts of math don't seem to be a problem, but these aspects slow us down and frustrate them considerably. They do well when I illustrate two-digit numbers with unifix cubes, but that doesn't translate yet into reading them correctly.

Library Books We Enjoyed

My New Granny 
by Elisabeth Steinkellner published 2012

Overview  Fini’s granny has changed. Before, she would comment on Fini’s strange hair styles, help her feed the ducks in the park, had traveled all over the world, and was an amazing cook. Now, Fini’s granny admires wacky hairdos, eats the bread crumbs meant for the ducks in the park, and does not travel or cook anymore. Eventually, Granny has to come live with Fini and her family because she needs to be watched, almost like a little child. She needs help dressing and washing, falls asleep underneath the kitchen table, and has a woman named Agatha that comes to care for her, like a babysitter. Fini is unsure of what to think of this “new” granny—she looks the same but she certainly acts like a completely different person.
My New Granny is a heartwarming and important story about a grandparent who is suffering from dementia and how a grandchild can learn to accept this change in personality in a loved one. With an estimated 5.4 million people affected by Alzheimer’s in the United States, this is an essential resource for many children who may have a grandparent suffering from this disease. Elisabeth Steinkellner’s text captures the thought process of children while Michael Roher’s simple yet evocative illustrations paint a realistic picture of how to cope with dementia in a family.

Draw What You See: The life and art of Benny Andrews
by Kathleen Benson, published February, 2015

Overview: Benny Andrews loved to draw. He drew his nine brothers and sisters, and his parents. He drew the red earth of the fields where they all worked, the hot sun that beat down, and the rows and rows of crops. As Benny hauled buckets of water, he made pictures in his head. And he dreamed of a better life—something beyond the segregation, the backbreaking labor, and the limited opportunities of his world. Benny’s dreams took him far from the rural Georgia of his childhood. He became one of the most important African American painters of the twentieth century, and he opened doors for other artists of color. His story will inspire budding young artists to work hard and follow their dreams.

Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-ups
by Stephanie Clarkson, published February, 2015

Overview: Princesses Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Rapunzel swap fairy tales with one another in this hilariously clever new classic!

Once upon a time, four fairy tale misses,
tired of dwarves, witches, princes, and kisses,
so bored and fed up, or just ready to flop,
upped and left home for a fairy tale swap.

What happens when Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Rapunzel get so fed up with their fairy tales that they decide to switch places with one another? Hilarity ensues in this clever, rhyming story about whether the grass really is greener at someone else's castle.

Author Stephanie Clarkson crafts an incredibly witty manuscript, with rhymes that shine and predicaments that will make little girls everywhere laugh out loud, as illustrator Brigette Barrager brings these beautiful princesses to life with her rich, warm colors and charming retro-girl style!

The Alphabet War: A Story About Dyslexia
By Diane Burton Robb, published 2004

Overview: School Library Journal Review: K-Gr 4-Adam starts school, and although he loves stories, he can't seem to get the words to make sense. Over the next few years, he slowly despairs of ever learning to read. Instead, he imagines that he is being held captive by an evil king who torments him with vowels. His parents hire tutors to help, but it isn't until a specialist comes in at the beginning of third grade and diagnoses him as dyslexic that things start to look up. For Adam, it has become a much bigger problem than just learning how to read-he must also find the self-confidence that years of failure have robbed from him. His new teacher helps him see that reading will always be hard for him, but that it is possible. The pastel illustrations adequately convey Adam's emotions. Although the text often tells rather than shows the boy's plight, the subject matter is handled with respect for his feelings at every stage of the process, and does not oversimplify or sugarcoat the difficulties of dyslexia.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Maryland School for the Deaf, Columbia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

My Thoughts: A valuable book, but since it was written in 2004, there is little about the strengths dyslexics have--that it is a gift, and not just a learning disability. This is more about the struggles than the triumphs, but it will still be appreciated by all dyslexic children.

John Muir Wrestles a Waterfall
by Julie Danneberg, published March, 2015

Overview: School Library Journal Review - Gr 3–5—This attractive picture book retells naturalist and writer John Muir's climb up a steep trail behind a waterfall along Yosemite Falls in April 1871. Danneberg includes information about Muir's love of the outdoors, his house in Yosemite (where he slept in a hammock that hung over an indoor spring), and his exploration of the park's natural setting. Lucid descriptions and the use of the present tense make the story immediate and relevant. Hogan's expressive renderings of the explorer's face are the highlight of this book, depicting the excitement and awe that Muir experienced standing beneath the falls. Many pages include supplemental information about the man and his love of nature. Quotations used in the text are cited, along with suggested readings and pertinent websites. VERDICT This is a solid work, ideal for those looking to add to collections or units on environmental studies, geography, writing, or biography and sure to inspire further interest in Muir.—Patricia Ann Owens, formerly with Illinois Eastern Community Colls., Mt. Carmel

How was your week, friends? Thank you for reading here and have a blessed weekend!

Weekly Wrap-Up


Shecki Grtlyblesd said...

Wow, busy week! I like the origami creations and the animal airplane. It never occurred to me to have my kids sketch from online cams. This is a great idea, and I can see it working for so many creatures! :)

Christine said...

Thank you for stopping by, Shecki. So nice to see you again!

Terri H said...

Wow, I had no idea it had been so long since I read blogs until I got a notice that my reader was about to expire this morning. :-P I will try to go back and catch up....sometime, but I knew you would want to know that my new little guy was born on Thursday. Boy #3 is healthy and well-loved.

Christine said...

Terri, I am so excited for you! I left you a note about your baby and I'm so happy you let me know. What a blessing! May the Lord bless these newborn days with every good thing from above.