Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lest We Forget

I suppose, for some, it's hard to fathom why the words love are mentioned where war has taken place. It's not that we love war, I don't think anyone can possibly love such a thing. Rather, I think we love what we've gotten because of it. Our freedoms. And so we do remember, with love, those who've gone bravely before us. Who've given up so much, for us. It's our quiet way of saying, We remember & we're grateful.

Europe, Supersized

The small map in the photo above is what we were trying to use to label Europe. We were suppose to label: waterways, mountains, capital cities, & countries. It was a mangled mess & frankly all we saw was lots of labels that didn't fit not the shape & placement of all of these amazing places. Rather then give up on the amazing idea that the Winter Promise company had in mind when they created these maps we decided to take matters into our own hands & obtain a larger map of Europe.

So we heated up the printed & printed out a 30 page map of Europe. The big trick is piecing it together after it comes out of the printer. Having remembered our lesson from when we printed out China we knew the secret to quickly putting the map together. Then it was a matter of trimming the various sheets & affixing them to each other. Also learning from our map of China, we chose to glue the papers together instead of taping them on the front side. This worked beautifully all though the last six pages that printed out seemed not quite as much to scale as the rest of the map. 

Once we got the crazy thing glued on the front side we flipped it over & taped all along the paper connections on the back. Then we hunt it up on the wall. You can't really see from the photo, but if you check out the top left hand side you'll see what I mean about how it didn't print as much to scale on some sheets as it did on others. The border isn't lined up because it was either the border or the map, & obviously the map was far more important to us! Once we got it hung up I used some of Morgan's nifty Lego Man markers & outlined all the countries we'll be visiting while in Europe.

Next up we used the smaller map to draw on the mountain ranges & water ways we were suppose to label. I also coloured in the Black Sea because I felt it was a bit confusing with it the same colour as everything else. Then Morgan put all his labels back on the map which was quite fun to watch.

Lastly we grabbed coloured pencils & then coloured in the countries that we had all ready outlined. The picture above doesn't really show how vibrant it looks on our very bland walls. We really need to colour in the ocean like we did the Black Sea, but at this point we were ready to lay it aside for the night. Morgan is also pretty keen to colour in the other countries even if we won't officially be studying them. I like having the whole thing hanging up in our lounge room so that we see it all the time. Betting that Morgan won't be the only one learning the geographical layout of Europe this way!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

2013 Week In Review {Week 11}

Tuesday of last week we were back to a semi-normal school week. I had a list of things I wanted the kids to accomplish before the end of term. I shared my list with them & told them they could choose to tackle it anyway they wanted. They opted to do all the math on Tuesday. Yes, Jayden is still in his pj's, or at least his pj shirt.

We also had swim practice that day & the boys thought they were pretty clever laying like this. Jayden actually had his hands behind his head all relaxed & comfy but had started to get down when I went to get my phone to snap a quick photo. He likes to back float in the same relaxed position, hands behind his head & feet crossed. Just a little confident..

Wednesday started with a little Family Service time. You know, as in chores. As in our school table was covered with laundry that needed folding & putting away. It was all hands on deck so we could find our supplies. Why yes, Jayden is wearing the same shirt again. I like to think of it as less laundry for me to do.

Morgan read me the rest of the Shakespeare story he'd been reading. Twelfth Night, which was written in a simplistic pattern, but he got a little confused halfway through with all the names. If you know the story you'll know that a female pretends to be a male & during the story she is referred to by both names. The male name when being spoken to, & the female name when she is thinking to herself. It kept throwing him for a loop. He's not keen to read Romeo & Juliet next because, "It's not like we don't know how that's going to end!" Cheeky boy!

Jayden worked on his book, but didn't finish it this week liked we'd been aiming for. That's okay, because what they don't realise is that they'll still be reading to me during term break. Shh, I won't break it to them until Monday morning. I had a good laugh while Jayden read this aloud to me because he calls Tommie Uncle Tom thanks to his own Great Uncle Tommy who was visiting this month. Especially since Jayden & Uncle Jimmy dressed up in Army Gear & gave poor Uncle Tommy a nice hard time.

Thursday we went hiking on a trail five minutes from the house with our Home Ed group. The boys enjoyed themselves, but it was while on this hike Morgan's throat started going crazy on him again. He went through all of his own water & most of mine. The chilly air is just not agreeing with this throat, poor fellow.

Friday Morgan was finishing off labeling his map of Europe when we decided the map was just ridiculously too small to fit the rest of the labels on & decided to print a better sized one out. It became an all day project as we had to dash out for ink & then came home & had to slap the printer into action... a few times over. We did get the larger version put together & labeled, but left a few loose ends dangling. It's all good though. We really need the break to recoup mentally & give the kids time to completely get over the colds. Bring on Term Break!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Birthday

The same Monday Morgan had his appointment was also Mr S's birthday. The boys were pretty intent that after the appointment, & a library run, & a breakfast run we should go get some presents. Morgan wanted to get one of the expansion packs to Settlers of Catan, but the one he was after wasn't around. He settled for the Seafarers option which was a huge hit anyway.

Jayden picked out a hilarious pizza wheel that looks like a moped. It got an awful lot of laughs & now Jayden is hanging out waiting for me to make pizza so it can be properly tried out, all though he did settle for pancakes for breakfast so it could be given a proper go.

The boys helped make a yummy lemon cake, it was seriously tasty all though I shouldn't have tasted even a bit because it was laden with all sorts of things I'm not suppose to consume. I'm determined to have a go at making a dairy/egg free version.

The funny thing was that when we went to put candles in it so we could sing, we couldn't find any birthday candles in the house! We normally have a plethora of them hanging around, but for whatever reason I simply couldn't find any. As a last resort I threw some sparklers in the cake & we sang anyway. The boys were delighted, all though Mr S was utterly confused as to how he'd blow them out. For the record, don't pull hot sparklers out of a birthday cake, Mr S can attest that they'll burn your fingers.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Eye Update

Last Monday Morgan had his bi-annual check-up for his scotopic sensitivity syndrome. Trying saying that one three times fast & you'll understand why I usually refer to it as SSS.

Dr F was delighted to see us & find out how much progress he's made thus far. She was also really excited that we remembered to bring the glasses he'd borrowed & some extra glasses cases we had that were taking up too much room in the junk drawer.

Both Morgan & I had to fill out a questionare in regard to progress & use of his glasses. From there she administered some reading tests both with & without his glasses on.

I hadn't warned Morgan that he might have a reading test so he was put rather on the spot with the whole thing & did really well taking it in stride. He's not comfortable reading in front of other people very often yet, add tests to that he's a nervous mess.

However, Dr F is really good at explaining that it's not a test test, it's just to see how he's doing & making sure his glasses are still really useful for him. She then told him the tests were American reading tests because most kids might have all ready seen the Australian version in school. Which amused us all to no end.

The tests consisted of reading the paragraph on the sheet she placed in front of him while she timed him & kept track of how many mistakes he made. If he self corrects himself, or she asks him to repeat something & gets it right then she doesn't consider those as mistakes. Then she jots it all down on a sheet of paper so she can share his results when he reaches the end. He flew through the first four reading sections she gave him, & on the fourth one he got a bit tongue tied but managed to hold his own.

The results showed a huge difference with his glasses on both in regards to mistakes made & in regards to speed. In each reading he did he was half the speed with the glasses on as with them off. Before you mistake that as having all ready read it, she actually had completely different readings so that wouldn't happen.

In six months time since getting his own custom lenses he's managed to move a full grade up level in reading. Where was barely keeping his head afloat last time he can firmly read all that she presented him at that grade level. More impressive to me was the level after that which he could barely deal with last time {pre-glasses} he was able to read in full even if he stumbled a few times over it.

Dr F was actually pretty impressed with the mistakes he did make, not because they were phenomenal but because they weren't the mistakes most children she deals with makes. Each time he'd clear a word most kids would misread she'd make mention of it. I'm not sure that it really mattered and if it did what that meant for Morgan, but she found it really interesting  & it did boost his confidence to hear that he was reading words correctly that are often misread.

All in all it was a really good appointment. It helped us see what progress he's made & where he currently stands. Knowing his reading level, at least as far as this is concerned gives us a place to have him working forward from when it comes to the reading we require of him at, especially in regards to school. She did encourage him to keep working on his spelling, which is a slight sore spot with him.

Spelling has been a struggle for him, but after understanding that words on the paper weren't standing still for him we quickly understood why. She also encouraged him, as his mother constantly does, to stop mixing capital letters with small letters in a sentence. They had themselves a good laugh about what a strict & mean teacher I am when she noted how I'd actually written it on one of his writing pages.

The results came at a good time for him too because it allows him to put some of that into action as we make these things a priority this year. He'll meet again with Dr F at the end of the year & I'm excited to see where he stands by then considering the mass improvement he's made in a meagre six months time all ready.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

2013 Week In Review {Week 10}

I'm only a week behind in updating what we did for week 10, but things have been crazy here with the boys being hit with the same cold at the end of every week! It's getting old pretty fast & we're so ready for the crazy thing to hit the road permanently!

They seem to recoupe by Monday or Tuesday & then get taken down again by Thursday evening. No idea what's going on, but it's as frustrating to them as it is to me.

Morgan was hit really hard in week 10 with a restrike of his cold. Feverish, majorly sore throat, & headachy! He came home from swim lessons & curled up in a quilt on the couch & didn't move much until we told him he should just go to bed. Poor fellow was so miserable looking & upset that he didn't complain just tromped off & slept the night away. He always has such a hard time fully fighting off colds.

Thankfully Jayden doesn't go down quite as hard, just a lingering cough & slightly runny nose that won't go away. Maybe this week with no outings for them they'll fully recoupe, we're praying at least!

Monday Jayden was pretty miserable so Morgan & I pulled out Ka-Ching to play. He was delighted, but informed me afterwards he knew that the only reason I suggested we play it was so he could work on his multiplication & division skills. He's catching on!

We wrapped up reading Philippians & finished off our PictureSmart page to go along with it. I didn't get a picture of the boys as they hadn't quite finished before putting away on the day I snapped photos. We just work on these pages while we listen to an audio version of the chapter we're reading for the day.

It was back to school as normal by Tuesday afternoon & both boys worked through another math lesson for the week. They are both moving at a quick pace through their books right now, but by the middle of Term 2 we should be into all new stuff.

Still no complaints from Jayden with Writing With Ease, which is a nice surprise! He still needs work on handwriting which we'll add in along with WWE in Term 2. The lessons, for now, with WWE are still short & simple.

Morgan worked on labeling the mountains of Europe, something he really enjoyed. If it involves maps he's all over it, so this was a pretty fun thing for him, all though the map he was using was considerably small. It's a beautiful map that goes along with the Children Around The World core sold by Winter Promise, but oh my goodness. It should have been made twice, or more, it's size!

Thursday was our outing day with the local Home Ed group. Morgan managed to slice his poor knee open & wouldn't you know our first aid box was empty. He ended up swapping a nice sized bandage for a granola bar from someone who had a well stocked first aid kit!

Yes, I know the picture is blurry, privacy of others, etc. My boys are the two in the middle, yellow & blue swim caps. Jayden was so exited to get to swim lessons this week! He'd practiced really hard at swim practice to conquer his dive-ins & was giddy with excitement when it was time to jump in. Not only was his class impressed with how quickly he jumped in, but so were the other parents watching. Huge success for him!

Friday Morgan was a mess with the reoccurring sore throat. We always know he's not well when he's not up by 7. When he did wake up he attempted to finger spell via sign language to communicate because his poor throat was bothering him. So I pulled a couple of books I'd snagged from the library out of our box & we all curled up while I read the morning away. The Talented Clementine kept them giggling, all though I think that some of the humor is aimed at the parents too. We read half of Winnie The Pooh before Morgan asked me to stop reading because all the laughing was making his throat hurt more.

That pretty much wrapped up week 10, not a whole lot accomplished that we'd been aiming for. They did start listening to The Hobbit, which was Morgan's current read aloud, but Jayden was really eager to read along. Unfortunately we didn't wrap up the science we'd hoped to attend to, but it's not going anywhere..

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Swim Practice

This year we told both the boys they had to pick some kind of sport to be involved in. We didn't care what the sport was as long as they picked something. Morgan decided he'd like to do tennis for a change of pace. That turned out to be a total flop for the poor guy, so he selected swim lessons. Jayden decided he'd think about it a while, but warned us he might go with golf. I joke not.

The problem with Morgan's choice for swim was that our local pool was closed indefinitely as they renovated & finally put an indoor pool in. Morgan was feeling really deflated that both of his desires had been squashed like that, & I gotta say I was hurting for him too.

One day while at a local library we saw a flyer hanging up advertising swim lessons by a registered AusSwim instructor. The location was halfway between our home & where we meet our group. If that wasn't amazing enough the lessons didn't start for 3 weeks! We quickly contacted the fellow organising things & he had then enrolled by the end of the week!

Things were cruising along while the weather was still good enough to take the boys to the beach or a few towns over to the public pool to practice, but I noticed their skills weren't progressing when the weather changed & these options weren't available. It was very frustrating.

Mr H finally asked Jayde to practice jumping in last week. Jayden is very meek when it comes to jumping in & had spent that particular lesson standing on the side of the pool for 15 minutes. It's hard to imagine this is the same child who, at 18 months jumped into the pool & swam the length while his parents were flying behind him screaming, "WAIT!" True story, even his brother remembers that one.

The problem is that finding a pool with open time slots is hard work. Mr S dutifully called around, but was met with a lot of filled pools. By Wednesday I thought we were out of luck & I was really stressed with Jayden's lesson being the following day. At 1 we were making lunch when Mr S called & told us to get changed immediately one of the pools called & had an opening that afternoon for 130. We could have the pool for up to an hour if we desired! There was a lot of running around as we flew out the door.

I told the guys to get on their swim gear & get their lunch to eat in the car. Nana was with us & she followed this advice, minus the swimmers, & dashed into the car. Poor women lost her mouthful as I took a corner a bit more quickly then I really needed to. Mr S had tears of laughter streaming down his face as I retold him this story..

Anyway, Jayden dutifully worked on his jumping in skills at the pool that day, but I won't say they were incredibly fantastic. However, we encouraged him along & quickly discovered he was balking because he was worried about water in his ears. We picked him up some earplugs, a prize if he could jump in at swim lessons in 60 seconds or less & set out for lessons. He did okay, & was commended for his efforts put forth. He earned his prizes & life carried on.

The pool owner ended up calling us back & telling us that an hour slot had opened up indefinitely for us to use the pool on Tuesdays! By our second time at the pool he was happily jumping off the edge complete with rocket arms that will impress Mr H at his upcoming swim lesson. He also managed to master the swim swim, flip, swim swim flip. Which is swimming freestyle & then flipping to your back to catch your breath & continuing along.

It's nice that the boys can practice their various strokes while I can swim laps, that is until we get caught up racing for the diving sticks. The lady swimming before us today turns out to be from the USA too & she was delighted to meet us, turns out she's from Colorado. Imagine her delight when I told her I have an uncle living there!

It'll be lovely for the boys to keep practicing between their term breaks too! They are so excited it's all I can do to keep them on task on Swim Practice day. Talk about a lovely answer to prayer!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Confetti Balloons

Excuse this extremely blurry photo, I really hope you don't go cross-eyed attempting to stare at it. For a few years now I think that every time I throw away the bits of paper from my binder punch or our normal hole punch that I'm missing a fantastic opportunity to make confetti balloons. I don't know if this is a real thing, but it's something I've had formed in my mind for years.

Simply fill balloons with all those wonderful little polka dots & pop the balloons for a shower of fun. Here's the thing though, I have a lot of great ideas that never go much farther then that. There's not always a good or logical reason that they don't expand beyond thoughts, sometimes it's just because I'm lazy.

However, last week when Jayden pulled out the hole punch the back that catches all the dots was off. He very carefully pulled that tray out of the cupboard & was about to throw them away when I shouted, "NO!!!!!" For once there was a rainbow of colours in the tray, normally it's all white. And honestly, the all white dots always make me wish they were colourful.

Poor kid nearly jumped out of his skin & asked what was wrong. I told him that if he saved those dots I'd make a confetti balloon for him. He was excited & replied with, "Cool! What's a confetti balloon?" So I explained that it was a balloon I'd fill with all those lovely dots & then we could burst it open. "That's not as cool as I thought, I hate the sound of popping balloons."

Regardless he fetched me a balloon & a funnel. We filled the balloon with half of the dots & then started to blow it up. For the record, never use the cheap balloons, they always end up popping on us when we blow them up. I'm a balloon snob & I always get the helium quality ones. You know the ones that have fewer in the bag but don't burst in your face.

Yeah, that balloon not only burst in my face I temporarily lost hearing in my left ear. Jayden was near tears & the dog gave up waiting on us to open the door & simply charged through it. We're a house full of people who hate loud & sudden noises, what can I say! All that was nothing compared to the mess of confetti all over our school table, the floor, my hair, Jayden's shirt, etc. It was totally awesome!

So we did the next best thing. We scooped up as much of it as we could, got out the good balloons, & divided it into three piles. We then filled three fresh balloons & put them away until Mr S was home from work. Then we all put on ear plugs, except Mr S who didn't seem to care, & I sent the guys outside with pointy skewers & their balloons. Oh my goodness it was a glorious shower of mess!!

The loved it so much they wanted to know if we could make them for Mr S' upcoming birthday. You know, I think we will, because there's equally something deep & satisfying about vacuuming up all those dots. Yeah, I'm that weird.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Funny Parcels

A few weeks ago I had this huge urge for a marshmallow. Now I know I could have gone to the store & bought one, but I have a true confession here. Australian marshmallows don't taste like real marshmallows, & when you want a real marshmallow they just don't compare. While Mr S won't say that they aren't real marshmallows he does confess to there being a big difference between a US mallow & an Aussie one.

This craving was only intensified when someone in our group asked me if I'd ever made Smores before & what exactly they were. It was expanded more so when the kids asked if at an upcoming camp trip we'd be having a bonfire & roasting marshmallows. The final straw was when Mr S admitted that some of those jumbo-tron style mallows we used on a bonefire in the US recently would be fantastic.

I couldn't take it anymore & did what any sane person would do. I looked up the USA Foods store located on the mainland & then attempted not to throw a tantrum when I discovered they were out of Kraft Marshmallows. Because honestly, if I was gonna do this thing I wanted to do it right! However, upon the insistent of my family that we needed those mallows for our camp trip I ordered the other brand the shop did have in stock.

The ordering process was a feat all it's own. I very quite nearly ordered 7 bags of jumbo marshmallows & upon attempting to fix that mistake nearly ordered 47 bags. I couldn't understand why the end price was so astronomical, clearly my brain had turned to marshmallow. In the end we ordered 2 bags of minis, 2 bags of regular, & 2 bags of jumbo.

I figured if we were going to have marshmallows the least I could do was get enough to share with our local home ed group one day this fall when it's cold & bring supplies so they can all make proper Smores. Only, the crazy shop was sold out of graham crackers! Ha, so the extra mallows went into the freezer until the shop has the graham crackers in stock.

Now, if all that weren't crazy enough, especially watching Mr S's face when I told him I very quite nearly ordered 47 bags of marshmallows, it only got funnier when they arrived. That box up in the picture was HUGE, I'm talking two adult arms huge. When the lady put it up on the counter & Jayden spotted the USA flag he said, "Mom, did Gram-Gram send us a package?"

I replied with, "No, I ordered marshmallows from the mainland. Perhaps they really did send me 47 bags of them!"
The women behind the counter nearly dropped the package & then said, "Did you actually order 47 bags of marshmallows?"
I never really got beyond the fact that I did type in 47 because she lost herself in a fit of laughter. Upon getting out to the car we discovered only the 6 bags we ordered were in the box, along with huge air pouches to keep them from getting crushed.

When we got back to the house Jayden informed Nana, who was staying with us that, "Mom really wanted some American marshmallows so she called the postie in America, they really only call them postmen though, anyway & she told them how badly she wanted some. So he said okay & she paid him & then look he sent her 6 bags of marshmallow when she really wanted 47!!"

I nearly choked on my jumbo-tron sized marshmallow.

Friday, April 5, 2013

2013 Week In Review {Week 9}

Another week has passed us by, my how the time sure does seem to be speeding by this term. We had a rather odd week this time: sorta of crazy, very busy, & just a lot of jumbled mumbled stuff.

Monday we had a nice day off as Mr S was home from work, we often don't take school holidays during the week unless Mr S is home. He was, so we indulged in a final day of nothingness, or mostly nothingness.

We did go bowling with some friends, it's the first time the boys have been bowling & they enjoyed themselves very much. Jayden really seemed to have a knack for it, which didn't come as a huge surprise.

After that we raced home to watch the footy match we'd been eager to see all week, not that it ended as we'd hoped it would but such is the way these things go. A rather lazy day for us.

Tuesday it was back to work. The boys were in shock to discover the local school kids had off, so I had to remind them that we were taking Friday off. In Tassie the kids are out from Good Friday until the following Wednesday.

Morgan worked on his Travel Diary which required the filling in of a family tree. Lucky for him Nana was staying with us & he was able to get the information he needed for that side of the family from her. For the other side I had a completely blank moment & could not remember my grandfather's or grandmother's given names. I could remember their nicknames, but that was it. So Morgan used FaceTime to get the information from Gram. Apparently he also spilled all our dirty little secrets & discovered his cousin was sick, which he gave us the most grizzly details about over lunch. Nice!

Jayden hung up his bear sticker for his animal chart & then was in awe of how tall a bear is. In fact, when he filled out his notebooking page about bears he wrote that the most amazing thing about them was simply how tall they are. He needed a chair to reach that spot.

He was a bit sad when Morgan was making a passport & he wasn't, but wouldn't you know we discovered a Zoo Passport via Family Fun. It's actually meant to be used at the SanDiego Zoo, but he was keen to print it out & tick off animals as he learned about them. It doesn't have a picture/stamp for each animal he'll study, so I added extra blank pages so he could draw the others. He was very pleased with the results.

We purchased these, one for each boy, & we had a great time watching them. They are very well done! We had a lot of laughs, but there was a lot of learning with it too. I think you have to watch them a few times over, which wasn't a huge problem here. Jayden kept asking if he could watch his again.

Wednesday there was a lot of comic book drawing going on. We'd done most of our work before lunch & just had a couple of read alouds to go, but Mr S rang us at lunch time & told us he'd reserved us a slot at a local pool. This was a huge blessing because Jayden had been asked to work on his diving before Thursday's lesson. We made a mad dash for the pool {pictured above} & had a lovely hour long swim. The boys both worked on their breast stroke & floating before moving on to individual things they felt needed work. It was nice to be able to swim laps & leave them to it. By the time we got home they blahed out drawing comic books while I read to them.

Morgan started reading the Shakespeare book for his trip around Europe. The book really is basic in regards to the stories, but I think it will make the stories make more sense when he gets to them at a deeper level. Our missionary for Europe is George Muller, we're really enjoying the book! It was a tad predictable at the start, but I am curious to see how it all unfolds now. The Hobbit is suppose to be our read aloud, but Jayden was pretty keen to have a listen too so we've snagged the audio book to listen to.

Aussie History this week came only from these two books. We hadn't read the first couple of chapters from our spines when we read about Abel Tasman, so before moving forward I wanted to get us caught up there. It's really fun to read these books side by side. As in, one then the other. Our Sunburnt Country is written from a very... everyone enjoyed it & was happy about it type way where as History Of Australia is written from a more realistic point of view. Everyone was not happy, not everything the Englishman did was good or for the right reasons. The boy haven't said anything about the drastically different perspectives yet, but they may not have noticed it as much either.

Morgan wrapped up one of his science books this week. We really enjoyed reading through this book, just a couple of pages each week. We didn't end up taking advantage of all the internet links inside, we simply enjoyed the content. He's actually mentioned quite a bit of what he's learned here for various reasons which is always fun to see/hear.

Morgan worked on labeling this wipe on wipe off map. Check out how he labeled North & South America. Make you chuckle? It cracked me up. It was good review for him, we'll be doing the same with countries as we study them, which he's really excited about. Me too to be honest!

There was math & writing this week too. Morgan has finished his first full unit in his math book, Jayden is all most wrapped up with his. Morgan was delighted to work with a thesaurus this week, all though ours was not a complete one which I need to order for him. We absolutely love that book on the table, Material World. We read a little each day about families around the world. Today we peeked at toilets, tvs, & food around the world. The new {2013} CAW doesn't use People & How They Live, but we're using that as well from the older IG because it's just such an amazing book. Really helps put things into perspective for them.

We also had swim lessons, where Jayden didn't do a perfect jump in, but did it in less then 60 seconds both times. Huge improvement for him. He was so happy with himself, never mind he had a prize on the line at home waiting for him for his accomplishments. We ended up skipping home ed group this week as Nana was with us & not feeling well. The boys were disappointed  but we were suppose to be out of town today with family. That was canceled too so they are really crossing their fingers I come up with something funtastic to do tomorrow.

Two more weeks to go until end of Term 1, we're all most on track with things, but it's okay if we don't end exactly where I'd planned for us too. We really need the break & have all ready planned a few fun things to do, not to mention a special read aloud just for that time period!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Ol' Switch-a-roo

The plan for Morgan's school year was to use Core F from Sonlight & add in bits & pieces from the Winter promise Children Around The World core that we also own. I wasn't entirely sure how that would unfold & ended up deciding in the end we'd just leave the WP core alone & use the Sonlight Core.

The main goal for Morgan this year is to move forward with his reading now that he has his glasses, & help him work towards independent learning. The problem we were having with Core F was that the workload was quite large & we don't have the time to slow down & spend extra time in this core. I know that probably sounds a bit silly, but honestly we don't. Morgan is in 6th grade & there are a few more important things he needs to get to & wrap up by Grade 10. Not that we plan to rush him into a public learning institution at that point, we don't, but we want the way clear should, at that time, they be able to offer him something he needs in regards to his future plans that we can't.

I really think that if one had the time to spend in this core for more then a year or with a much older student that it would be perfect for them. That's just not the case for us, which meant we needed to make major changes or pull the ol' switch-a-roo. We went with the later. We pulled out the Winter Promise core that we owned & decided to use it as our core. This wasn't a big deal because we were all ready using the spines called for, but it lacked literature for each week. Something we love & have grown accustomed to.

So, instead of becoming totally frustrated we decided to take the best parts of both curriculums, slam them together & get the best of both worlds! The upside to this is that the workload is much better suited to Morgan, we get to enjoy the lovely literature that Sonlight all ready scheduled & picked out for all these lovely countries, we get to visit a few more countries then we would have, & we get to use the awesome resources that Winter Promise offers.

The downside is that the schedule is a little different. Sonlight started us in Asia, Winter Promise starts in Europe. We were going to finish out Asia & then turn towards Europe, which is how we worked last week, but it also means that we were flipping back & forth in our IG like mad people trying to make sure we covered everything & used all our resources. Chaos. I don't like chaos, especially when it comes to school.

Chaos makes me stressed, which can set off a migraine, which can make me very cranky. No one likes to be cranky, stressed, or headachy. So, I decided the best thing to do was flip to the front of the WP core & start there. We can pick back up in Asia when we get there.

Just a slight itinerary change, but the boys are both really excited because this means we'll be starting The Hobbit next week. Yes, I said boys because Jayden has begged to be included in this read aloud & of course I said yes. Because Sonlight doesn't cover most of these countries in Europe we've added in our own literature if there wasn't something from our Sonlight core that would fit. For instance, Morgan will spend the next 11 weeks in Europe & during that time he'll be reading Shakespeare. He was a little freaked until I showed him the book & explained it was actually made for kids. We'll see how it goes.

I'm pretty excited to see how the rest of our year unfolds, & here's hoping it's a whole lot less stress for all of us!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Two Saturday's ago we were suppose to go on a family hike, which was rained out by flooding rains. Sunday wasn't much better. So we gave up on the idea & curled up with books, a good movie, & some games & decided we'd hold of on the hike until the following Saturday.

Mr S actually had Friday off so we decided to take advantage of the time off & the good weather & we headed out for a few hours of adventure. The area we chose to hike in has a lot of different paths so we took the first one to the overlook, which is one of the simplest & easiest first. As we neared the edge the guys were all keen to climb on the poor lizard, while I was more interested in the view.

I'm standing there staring out over the town & the ocean & I say, "You know guys, this is how an explorer would have felt. Just imagine you were with Abel Tasman & were exploring, think how you would have felt to suddenly see what you were after." Dead silence. This is never a good sign.

I spin around figuring they've left me & taken one of the side trails to see them posing. "What on earth are you doing?" Mr S replies with, "Pretending I'm an explorer, I needed to get into character a little bit." I have no idea what the dog is doing, other then hoping Jayden will get off the leash so he can explore a little of his own accord.

The thing about hiking with Mr S is that we often do become a bit like modern day explorers. This trip wasn't much different. Somehow he managed to take us from the clearly marked Trail 3 to Trail 12, via Trail 16, where we ran into a modern day Seaman. Trail 16 rounded up to Trail 3, don't ask me how we got that lucky, which had 3 trees down over it & oozy mud as well as a peace pole, & more jack jumpers then I want to think about. However, it dead ended into the middle of no where which led us to the road, at least a K in the wrong direction from the car.

At which point the dog got really exited, because he knows that when Mr S leads us the wrong way it's his turn to take over. Between you & me, I think the dog silently prays on the car trips that Mr S will get lost just for the fun of attempting to track our paths back. Because the only thing the dog likes more then herding us into a straight line that goes where he wants is being the leader & being sure we follow the exact path he picks for us.

On our annual camp trips to the bush we use to hike down to the river. The path use to be clearly marked. Over the past few years it's become more & move overgrown & the last two times Mr S has taken us on that trail we've gotten lost. One year, we were so lost that the Auntie & Cousin with us had a small moment of panic & started calling out for the rest of the clan that was back at the cabin. When that failed to bail them out & we could see they were becoming increasingly distressed I unleashed the dog & gave him his favourite command, "Home!"

The problem with following a dog is that he takes the shortest route possible, & if that means going through the brambles he does. He also will sit on the other side & bark at you until you've made your way around them instead of through them. He also hates it when you stop to remove leeches from yourself or flick other such pests from your clothing. He does, however, become increasingly pleased with himself upon each return trip when he gets us back exactly where we started from. We didn't actually need him to lead us "home" on Saturday, we found our way all on our own.

As for that explorer's view, this was it. The guys did clamber down off the lizard long enough to take a peek at it. And, yeah I know we're only seeing a glimpse of the ocean instead of a glimpse of land, but you get the point, right?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Funny Moments

This is what you get when your 9 year old climbs in your bed & says, "Let's take funny photos Mom!" I'm just gonna tell you right now that it's too hard to cross your eyes & attempt to push the button to take a photo!  No, he's not clutching a crazy little dust ball, it's a Puffle. You know, a penguin pet. Surely you know of these things right?

I'm not exactly sure how I came out looking like the total crazy in that photo & he's just smiling with puckered up lips! He said, "Do something really silly!" And when I just did a smile that was deemed no good, so I stuck out my tongue & scrunched up my face. I suspect that's his, "I'm not gonna laugh.." face.

He has one of those. He's practicing to be a British Guard for Buckingham Palace. High & lofty goals wouldn't you say? So I offer to help him whenever I can. "Try to make me laugh Mom." So far he's managed to hold in the giggles against me for about 5 seconds. It's not that I'm even doing anything, all I have to do is look at him & he breaks out in an insane case of laughter. The day he made it to 5 seconds I stuck my tongue out at him & he lost it completely.

Which leads him to ask, "How do they do it? How on earth do they keep from laughing?" I don't know, I really don't know. My suspicions are that they are laughing on the inside & just pretending not to laugh on the outside. When we make it to Europe & take a peek at these infamous guards I'll be sure to watch their eyes to see if there's some laughter going on in there, all though Jayden will probably tell me off for trying to make them laugh.. either that or embarrassing him.

Coming from the child who use to sit in the back seat of the car & act like a mega rock star while singing, "I'm going to the potty now!" Yeah, I was so singing along with both the boys when they learned that song, it went with their potty training book. I'm not sure Mr S has quite gotten over the total shock of us pulling up to collect him from work & the three of us belting out those lyrics. It left enough of an impression upon him that he fully banned us from singing any form of "the potty song" within a 2 mile radios, which nearly prevented us from singing it at home too!

Ahh, how the times have changed. I got in trouble for singing a Wiggles song not too long ago. "That's a baby song Mom, we don't really do Wiggles anymore!" "That's so not true, Morgan wouldn't let me turn of the Carols last year until after the Wiggles were done singing!" "MORGAN!" "What, I like the Wiggles, well I use to. Now that there's a girl Wiggle I don't think I can ever watch them again. It's just so wrong."