It's been a while since I've written, but a lot has happened in the last few weeks. I feel like I had to go into survival mode to continue doing what I'm doing while I was physically sick and emotionally spent from grief (see last post). I even completely lost my voice and it took so much energy to try to speak! However, this week I have felt better and thought I'd give a quick update on the homeschooling front.
We have begun reading "A Child's History of the World" by Hillyer. It tells the "story" of history, why we call time "B.C." and "A.D.", and the germination of human communication and belief in a very fascinating and child-friendly way. I couldn't stand history and social studies growing up because it was so boring, but Hillyer makes it come alive with the way he writes.
We also began collecting dates in a Book of Centuries. At the top of each page is the year, whether it is 3400 B.C. or 134 A.D., and we put them in order. We only have a few pages right now such as Menes, the 1st Egyptian King (3400 B.C.), Hammurabi, the 1st king of Babylon (1300 B.C.), the Rosetta Stone created (196 B.C.), and a few A.D. dates including their own birthdays. What I really like about the Book of Centuries is that it causes the kids to begin to see history as a continuum rather than in choppy units of time, which is how I was taught. I could never place what century important events were in, but here, they get a sense of it falling into a certain time period, before or after X, Y, or Z. It also excites them to add more to their book of centuries any time a date is given, even if it's not in the history reading. For instance, they wanted to write the date of when C.S. Lewis wrote The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, as well as when we had a full moon for the fall equinox a few weeks ago, which hasn't happened in 20 years. It encourages them to view history as a living text and an important part of understanding life.
One side note: In CBS (Community Bible Study), the kids are I are studying the book of Daniel. Daniel was taken captive by the Babylonians in 605 B.C. to serve King Nebuchadnezzar. Well, where have we landed in our history readings the last few weeks? Ancient Babylonia! I couldn't have planned it, but God knew.
We finished Alpha and Beta of Math-U-See as of today. Although this is really easy stuff for them (mostly addition/subtraction), we needed to go over it completely to make sure we had a solid understanding, especially of multiple digit addition/subtraction. As we went through the DVD's, Ellie said that she never really understood the concept of regrouping (or what we used to call "borrowing" or "carrying" numbers), and I am so glad she really gets it now. If she had trouble with just that, no wonder she had trouble with other mathematical concepts! I am so thankful that we are catching some of the holes and filling them in for her. She loves "Mr. Steve-a-rino" as he calls himself on the videos. I wish I could meet him in person and thank him!
A great way to remember God's Word, practice reading, and grasp basic theology is to sing hymns. One of the ladies at our monthly book club for Charlotte Mason's Philosophy of Education said, "Your kids may not remember all the Bible verses they memorized as a child, but they will remember hymns." So we began singing a hymn together once a week. We started with "Breathe on me, Breath of God," and I am surprised at how much they love that hymn. They sing it on their own and Chloe tries to pick out the melody on the piano at 7:30am. Not that I mind, of course! But it's true; somehow the music really stays with you. I love hearing their little voices sing, "Breathe on me, breath of God. . . that I may love what Thou dost love, and do what Thou wouldst do." Amen to that!
Not pleased with the progress on this. The library resources haven't really worked well for us, nor have the free ones online. I think it's also because I am not as familiar with the language. I really would love for them to learn it, but I just don't think I am equipped! I may have to start Spanish instead, but I was hoping to try something different. It may be Korean, which for those of you who know me well, is a shock!!
After doing a few weeks in Chemistry, we hit a wall. Why? It was my mistake for using a textbook over a living book (a book written by a single author invested in the topic). I should have known better! So now we are studying anatomy through reading the book "I am Joe's Body," a Reader's Digest series that was turned into a book. I'm sure you can imagine that the result has been much more successful- Ellie and Chloe have really latched on to it! Every organ is written in 1st person, so you really get a sense of what they do for Joe and also Joe's misconceptions of each organ; the stomach, for instance, really resents the fact that Joe blames him for the noises when he's hungry! The scientific detail is balanced with humor, so the kids love it. I highly recommend it, even for adults!
We also visited a new science museum in our town which was great fun for the kids. They got to work with simple machines, ride on a square-wheeled tricycle, work with mathematical formulas in inventive ways, and observe physics tricks. We went at 1pm on a school day and had the entire place to ourselves. I am planning to sign them up for the homeschool science classes there.
We are enjoying beautiful, breezy, 85-degree days out in TX right now, so we have spent a lot of time outdoors, whether for reading, picnic lunch or an extended play time at a park after we finish our work. I hope the weather stays like this for a while!
As for my own recess, I haven't been working out for the last 3 weeks! That's totally unacceptable to me, but I just couldn't get the energy going. I am hoping to get back into it starting Monday. If not, the next blog will be about the woes of gaining weight!