Thursday, October 29, 2009

Back to normal...sort of

We are finally unpacked and back in somewhat of a routine...We have had a lot of things going on since we have been home so school has been here and there and on the road...It always amazes me that when the kids are not required to do schoolwork, they always find something "school-ish" (my new word) to do, without even realizing it. While trying to get back into a daily groove, we have had several days of the kids just doing their own things. Mackenzie has been cooking like crazy, trying out new recipes and tripling batches of cookies (fractions, cooking, measuring).
She has also been copying tons of recipes into a notebook (handwriting!) and sewing/crocheting/knitting Christmas gifts. Mae has been feverishly playing the piano every chance she gets, and has been drawing and illustrating stories in her journal, as well as typing some of them on the computer (handwriting, spelling, grammar, typing, creative writing, art).
She is not as crafty as Mackenzie, but Mae's idea of fun is reading about different topics in our encyclopedias (this week her chosen topics were dogs and dog training)-She then spent 2 hours and a whole bag of dog treats trying to teach the dogs tricks. Noah has spent time lately building a rocket out of a 6 foot long cardboard tube that Mike brought home from work, (math? art? science?) and building with legos (engineering?). Lexie has been busy "cooking" all week. She gets out about 4 bowls, all my measuring cups, a whisk and several spoons and uses legos or magnets to make soup-which we all have to pretend to taste! Even in our non-school days, we have been busy reading. The girls and I are going through "Raising Maidens of Virtue" by Stacy MacDonald. Mackenzie and I are both reading Mandisa's book, "Idol Eyes" which I picked up at an Ewomen conference this weekend. I enjoyed Mandisa's performance and Testimony, and decided to get her book for Mackenzie. Mackenzie has just finished "Before You Meet Prince Charming" by Sarah Mally and loved it. Mae, much to my surprise, picked up "Pride and Prejudice"last week and decided to read it. Very funny to hear an 11 year old's comments about the story! She devoured the "Wizard of Oz" and a book called "Princess Academy" and is now reading a great little book called "Ten Girls who Changed the World." For our Read aloud time together, we are Reading through The story of Joseph in the Bible- always so amazed at God's constant hand in his life-always leads us to lots of discussions about Gods plans for us. I have also gotten hooked on the Life of Faith books, so I am now reading aloud book 6 in the "Millie Keith"series. I can not recommend these books enough for young girls. In my own reading, besides Mandisa's book, I am doing a study on the Proverbs 31 woman-"The Virtuous Woman" by Vicki Courtney and reading a tearjerker about fathers and daughters called, "Don't Let Me Go" by David Pierce (husband of Comedienne, Chonda Pierce). Noah is not much of a reader yet, but he is determined to start big...instead of easy phonics readers, he wants to read his LampLighter book, "Boys of Grit". Written in the 1800's this book is not written with the 7 year old reader in mind, but he is determined, and expects me to help him read a page from this book each night! 5 years ago when we "dropped" our cable service, I wondered how we would survive without it. Now I'm so glad we don't have it. The kids find so much other stuff to do with their free time! I definately say, if you want to grow a reader, unplug the TV!
We did ease back into our studies a little more yesterday, and spent the day learning about Egypt, pyramids and mummies. Mackenzie researched the wonders of the Ancient World, While Mae researched Queen Shubad-I had never heard of her, but turns out her tomb was quite a big deal! Mae was fascinated by the fact that 5 soldiers and 13 ladies in waiting were buried with her. Noah has been building pyramids out of Magnetix pieces and trying to see which design will support the most weight. We studied Ancient Egyptian Art, With Barry Stebbing's God and the History of Art (by far, one of our favorite resources this year) and I was very impressed with the children's drawings. We learned that the Egyptians never drew anyone overweight or old!
Very funny! We mummified apples by burying them in a mixture of baking soda and salt-now we are supposed to let them remain "buried" for seven days. They are already a little stinky-but this is way better than the chicken Mackenzie mummified with her gifted class in Public School several years ago. She was so proud that she got to bring the chicken mummy home after TWO WEEKS. I almost gagged, it was so gross. We buried it at my in-laws house. The apples will not have a burial-they will go in the garbage! We are having some great talks about the beliefs of the Egyptians, an how glad we are that we serve the one TRUE God. I am so thankful for homeschooling-even on the days I feel I don't accomplish much. The interaction and the conversations I get to share with my children are priceless, and the ability to weave God into all of our studies is such a blessing. Even on our "bad" days, I wouldn't trade this for anything.

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