Friday, September 22, 2017

All About Weather!

I love how homeschooling seems to just happen so seamlessly with whatever is going on in our lives.  I have a great example of this from a recent "Five in a Row" study we recently did.  We "rowed" the book, "Storm in the Night" by Mary Stolz.  This book just happened to be one that came available for me to check out, from several that I placed on hold at the library.  And the timing couldn't have been more perfect!  In this book, while he sits through a fearsome thunderstorm that has put the lights out, Thomas (the little boy in this story) hears a story from Grandfather's boyhood, when Grandfather was afraid of thunderstorms.

So many interesting things were happening with the weather as we did this row.  First off, there was the full eclipse of the sun that we got to learn about and observe.  In our area, we only saw about a 67% eclipse, but it was still so neat to witness.  In about 7 years, our area will be in the path of a full eclipse.  It is hard to believe Luke and Abbey will be 14.5 and 12.5 when that happens!  For this year's event, we enjoyed experiencing it with friend's at the local library's public event.

Since we were learning about space, we decided to read the book, "If you decide to go to the moon" by McNulty, Faith.
Language Arts:
But back to our row of "Storm in the Night."  First off, I have to say it always amazes me how many subjects and how many things we can cover using just one book as our focus.  We were able to cover social studies, science, language arts, and math.  For language arts, one of the things we discussed was onomatopoeia.  We learned that the word onomatopoeia comes from the combination of two Greek words, one meaning "name" and the other meaning "I make," so onomatopoeia literally means "the name (or sound) I make." The word means nothing more than the sound it makes. It helps make writing more expressive and vivid.  We found examples in the book.  And then made a little sort of "mobile" with clouds, rain and lightning to demonstrate some of these types of words.

Also for language arts, we discussed examples of similes, contrasts, settings and scenes, and the use of italics and quotation marks.

Social Studies:  
This story was about the relationship of a Grandfather and grandson.  We could tell these two had a close relationship.  We looked for clues together that showed us that these two had such a close relationship.  Then, we discussed close relationships that we have.

We also discussed the emotion of "fear".  In the story, Thomas says he is not afraid of anything.  But, Grandfather helps Thomas understand that all people are afraid of somethings, it's ok to admit it and that fear can be overcome.  We created a little "map" of our own fears and then looked up and wrote a bible verse to help us remember that God is always with us, and we need not fear.  Isaiah 41:10 says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

For math, we did a little geometry as we looked at the quilt on the bed in the illustration in the story.  We discussed what shapes and patterns made up the quilt.  We noticed that there were equilateral triangles.  The center included a white circle surrounded by a yellow pentagon.  We got out our "pattern play" game and tangram puzzles out and made some patterns of our own and created objects out of shapes.

For art, we studied the facial expressions in the book, and then practiced drawing some of our own.  In the book, we noticed how Thomas was looking sideways when looking out the window, because we could tell the iris of the eye was over to the side and we could see more of the white of his eyes.  We practiced drawing faces with characters who were looking in different directions.

We also learned about the use of darkness and light in the illustrations, and discussed the use of contrast for dramatic effects.

The subject we spent the most time on during this row was science.  We love science and math in our house, and tend to spend a lot of time on these subjects.  We checked out several books about weather, and read them all.  Our book list included the following:

Down comes the rain by Branley, Franklyn M.
A cloudy day by Nelson, Robin,
Flash, crash, rumble, and roll by Branley, Franklyn M. 
Weather words and what they mean by Gibbons, Gail.
Sunshine makes the seasons by Branley, Franklyn M. 

We also read several Magic Schoolbus books and then watched the video episodes ("Magic Schoolbus Kicks up a Storm" and "Magic Schoolbus Inside a Hurricane")  about weather. 

We learned all about the water cycle through the Magic School Bus books and the video episode, "Magic Schoolbus Wet All Over".  The kids then drew a picture of the water cycle and wrote in their own words in their journal what they learned.    


We decided make a cloud in a jar to see how the water cycle works and how clouds are formed.  This was such a fun experiment.   Here is a little video of our experiment:

We also learned about different types of clouds and then made some examples of these on paper, using cotton balls.

We had so much fun with this row, and the timeliness of it couldn't have been more perfect.  We had so many strange weather events around the time of our row, including several hurricanes.  The kids have been regularly discussing the weather, the water cycle, the types of clouds in the sky and more, so I would say that this row was a success!

(Note:  Five in a Row is a curriculum that we have been using since Luke was 3.  We thoroughly enjoy it.  Although it can be used as a complete curriculum, we actually use it as a supplement to our learning.  We currently use "Life of Fred" for math (along with Prodigy (online game) and a ton of other fun games), "Story of the World" for history, and we do lots of fun reading and writing in subjects that the kids enjoy for our reading and writing and grammar.  We cover lots of science, geography and social studies in an eclectic manner as well, not using a particular curriculum but rather use unit studies, experiments, fun games, and lots of literature.) 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Catching Up

Goodness, I have really been slacking on blogging for a really long time.  And it makes me extremely sad, because I really cherish this "journal" that I keep of our life together as a family.  So, I am going to try to play a bit of catch up here and then really try hard to be good about keeping this "journal".

One thing I have been diligent about is collecting one second from every day in our lives in the form of pictures or videos.  Then, each month I use the "One Second Everyday" app to create a little video that merges together the one second that I select from each day of that month.  So, to catch up, here are the "One Second Every Day's" from May through July.  (You can see months December 2016 through April on our youtube channel:




This month, Abbey participated in a week long theater camp.  She auditioned and got the part of Cinderella in the little performance by the 4 to 6 year old kids in her class.  If you are interested, here is her performance (please keep in mind that this was a very small scale production, in a very small room (there are lots of noise distractions with the little babies and kids in the audience) with 4 to 6 year olds performing):

She has decided she absolutely loves theater and is enrolled in a "Broadway Kids" class this semester that teaches the combination of singing, dancing and acting at one of the local theaters that we absolutely love.  She is extremely excited about this class.  She is also excited to begin her first season of a team sport:  Soccer.  We just found out last night that she is on the Black Ladybugs team.  That sounds like such an extremely cute team name!

Luke was excited to begin the Fall Baseball season.  He began practicing early; however, as he practiced, a ganglion that he had on his wrist last spring popped back up with a vengeance.  It is huge and places so much pressure on his wrist that it causes a lot of pain.  After a visit with the pediatric orthopedic physician, we decided it was best to quit baseball this season, put Luke's wrist in a brace and hope the rest helps remove the painful ganglion.  We are hoping he is able to enroll in a Parkour class soon though and his wrist won't be bothered by it.  We are going to give it a little more rest before doing that though.

Drew and I participated in CG Games over two weekends in August.  It required a lot of training and was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  If you are interested in seeing the four events we had to complete over the two weekend, check out the videos on this link:  Back in March, when we signed up, I was really excited about the upcoming prelims competition that would be in August.  Then, they released the videos for the events we were going to be competing in.  We started training specifically for those events.  As August approached, I began to ask myself why I voluntarily decided to sign up and pay for such torture!  After the first weekend of cg games, I really wondered what in the world I signed up for.  For some reason, I decided to begin the morning with the Peak event---one of those most taxing on your legs.  And, I failed to warm up well.  So, i ended up injuring both quads and still had all of the events to do.  So, it was extremely difficult for me (way more difficult than when I was training).  But, I did it!  And once it was over, I was so glad I competed.  It's kind of like childbirth---during the labor process you wonder what in the world you got yourself into and may even say, "I am never doing this again!"  But, after that baby is born, you forget about all of the pain and just cling onto all the joy!  I am now excited to compete next year, and I learned so much from this first experience of CG games:  like---warm up well before your first event and don't start with the Peak event!  We are still waiting to see if we get to go to the finals in November.  Drew did so well and was in the top 10 in our division for each of the 4 events!!  Here is Drew completing the peak event (He is bear crawling 50 yards, pulling 100 lbs of weight in that bag.  Then, he has to run back and grab a 25 lb sandbell out of that bag and toss it back 50 yards.  Then he runs back and throws another 25 lb sandbell 50 yards.  Lastly, he pulls the now 50 lb bag back the 50 yards):

Jelly legs!!

And last, Hurricane Harvey made landfall last week and was a major disaster.  Last weekend in Austin, we got a ton of rain.  However, thankfully, there was no flooding in our city.  Unfortunately though, the Houston area got more flooding than ever in history!  You hear of 100 year floods and even 500 year floods (a flood occurring once every 500 years).  This was an 800 year flood!!  Drew's parents and sister and her family all drove up on Monday as there was an voluntary evacuation for their area.  The voluntary evacuation soon became a mandatory evacuation, so it's a good thing they headed our way before it was too late.  The rains just continued to come down for many days.  They received more rain in those days than they typically do in a year!  It is really devastating.  Drew's sister's house fortunately stayed dry.  But, we think his parent's house has about a foot of water in it.  Please pray for them as they recover without too much trouble: that they are able to line up contractors to begin as soon as possible and that their home is back in the shape it was in prior to the flood very soon!  We were very thankful to get to spend time with his whole family, but were sad that it was under these circumstances.    If you are interested in serving or helping financially with disaster recovery for all of those affected by Hurricane Harvey, our church has provided a great link for opportunities for you to help:

Lastly, yesterday Drew had a big birthday!  And it was awesome that his whole family was here to celebrate with him this week! 

His family offered to watch the kids while we celebrated Drew's birthday as a couple over dinner. 
I made Drew's favorite dessert:  flourless chocolate torte with a berry sorbet.
He told me every time I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday, that all he really wanted to do was watch the Ohio State football game (season opener).  So, we made sure that happened.  But at half time, we played laser tag in the dark, which was a blast (literally)!
And after laser tag, it was time to open gifts!
My husband is so amazing and the kids and I are just so blessed he is ours!  He is kind, with a gentle spirit and servant's heart!  He is my absolute best friend and there is no other person I want to spend more time with than him!  Thank you Lord for creating Drew!  (And thanks to Drew's parents for raising such an amazing person!)