Tag Archives: God’s Design for Science

Wrapping Up Week 33 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 Change is in the air.  Between finishing up with the curriculum we’ve been working through this year, review products we’ve added in, and looking ahead to the coming school year, this week has felt like we’ve entered a transitional period.  I’m excited about the direction we’re heading, and I look forward to sharing more about it after we officially close this year.

We kicked off the week with a choir festival, in which Ian got to both sing and and his first performance with handchimes.  It was a wonderful experience and fun reward for the last couple years of work he’s put in in our Friday music classes.

Choir Festival Collage


Book of AstronomyWe’ve got a few science-related reviews coming up, but this week our main focus was the Book of Astronomy Set from Memoria Press.  I was really excited about this product, and so far it’s living up to my expectations.  This week we memorized the fifteen brightest stars and began learning about the constellations.  One night Ian came in from playing announcing that he’d found Orion’s belt, so we grabbed our book and headed outside to see how our picture of the constellation matched up with the real thing.  Another night we were out late and as we walked in from the car, Elijah said, “That looks like something to scoop up soup!”  Sure enough, he’d found the Big Dipper.

We’ve haven’t learned about Orion or the Big Dipper yet, so that was as far as our stargazing went those nights, but I’m thrilled to see the boys looking to the sky and recognizing the pictures that have captured man’s attention for thousands of years.  When I lived in rural Kenya back before I got married, I was so familiar with the stars in the night sky and always aware of the current phase of the moon, but now being back in busy, light-polluted Southern California I rarely look up or sense the rhythm of the heavenly bodies as the months pass by.  I am enjoying learning alongside my children as we “listen” to the heavens declaring the glory God.


Computer Learning

We have grown so dependent on our computers this year, and when I cracked the screen on one of them a couple weeks ago it really disrupted our rhythm.  Thankfully, I was able to replace it this week (thank you, YouTube!), and so both boys are able to work at the same time.

Language Arts

Both boys spent quite a bit of time on Read, Write, and Type.  I love the extra spelling practice it is giving them.  Elijah seems determined to complete all ten levels, and I’m going to have both of them keep working toward that goal.  Ian has to work harder on spelling than his brother, and this will be a fun way to practice through the summer.  He also got started exploring Essential Skills Advantage.


Ian only as two lessons left in his Veritas Press Self-Paced History Course on the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation!  This has been one of our favorite things about this school year.  He’s always eager to get his history done, and it’s been a great introduction to the Classical method has he’s memorized the timeline and worked through the lessons.


Ian is just a few lessons away from completing Teaching Textbooks Math 3.  I’ll give him the summer off before we continue onto Math 4.  For now, he’ll finish up his A+Interactive Math Mini-Course on time, since he’s still struggling to master reading a clock, and then just keep up with facts practice.  The boys have had a break from xtramath.org while the extra computer was down.  I’m dreading to see their scores next week.  For Elijah, summer math will consist of facts practice and completing the A+Interactive Math Mini-Course on money, but he’s still got a few weeks worth of MEP lessons left.

A few final thoughts

This week should see us finishing up most of our year’s curriculum, as well as the final choir performance for all three kids in the music program, but the boys still have several weeks left in their IEW class, plus working on our review products, so while things will be changing, we’re not quite looking at a full break just yet.

Upcoming Reviews

We’re enjoying several products right now, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:


Wrapping Up Week 32 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 I love that my younger children have the benefit of learning alongside their older brothers, but sometimes I feel a little sad that they don’t get to do all the fun preschool activities I did with Ian (and a little with Elijah).  So when Daddy and the older boys headed off to a retreat together, I decided to work in some special preschool time with Arianna and Nicholas.

Arianna always wants to have a tea party when the boys are gone, and I find those are great times to pull out special books to read.  This time I pulled out three Before Five in a Row books: Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?Ask Mr. Bear, and Blueberries for Sal.  We got out the Wooden Bear Family Dress Up Puzzle I bought back when I first “rowed” Jesse Bear with Ian, and we made our craisins go “kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk” in the tin buckets I collected when I first “rowed” Blueberries for Sal” (no blueberries in the house, so cranberries had to do).  Then we had fun dancing around while watching Jana Alayra videos on YouTube.  It was so sweet to have time with just these two little ones for a while.

B4FIAR Teatime


We’re about to start a review of a new science program, so I decided to finish up Our Planet Earth, completing the God’s Design for Heaven and Earth for the year.  (Woohoo!)  We finished learning about the planets (the gas giants, plus the two dwarf planets, Pluto and Eris), watching the rest of Wonders of God’s Creation: The Milky Way and our Solar System as well as The Solar System: Outer Gas Planets.

Then we really enjoyed learning about NASA and America’s exploration of space.  Lots and Lots of Roaring Rockets-Soaring Spacecraft is a wonderful video for kids about the history of the space program.  The boys saw it a couple years ago, but they both enjoyed watching it again.  (We have the DVD, which for some reason doesn’t work in our DVD player but works fine on the computer, so I recommend the streaming video.)

The boys and Daddy also kept up a continuing game of Solarquest: The Space-Age Real Estate Game all week.  They’ve gotten so familiar with the names of the moons of various planets through this game, and they loved it when they’d recognize them in the videos we watched.


Ian is down to the last three weeks of the Veritas Press Self-Paced History Course on the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation.  This week he studied Calvin and the Institute of Religion.  John CalvinIt wasn’t assigned in the course, but I had him read John Calvin: What is the truth? by Catherine Mackenzie to go along with the lesson.  I really like Mackenzie’s whole “Little Lights” series.  They are picture books about important people in Christian history.  Arianna has brought me several of them to read to her, and I love that she’s getting familiar with people like Corrie ten Boom and Amy Carmichael at four-years old.  Yet they’re not so simple that Ian can’t learn from them as well at eight.  (Plus he can easily read them on his own, which is always something I try to encourage in my reluctant reader.)  I’m glad I was able to add the whole series (14 books) to our family library.

Upcoming Reviews

I’ve published several reviews lately, but we’ve still got lots we’ll be sharing about in the weeks and months to come:


Wrapping Up Week 31 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 It’s all downhill from here!  I told Ian that as soon as he finishes up everything scheduled for history, science, and math (about four weeks’ worth of work), we’ll lighten up school for the summer.  (We never really stop completely, and I do have a few things planned, but they won’t be quite as intense as our regular school year.)  He was really motivated at the beginning of the week, flying through his entire week of lessons for the Veritas Press self-paced history course in one day, but then he never got back to it, so he didn’t really get ahead at all.

20160329_103951xI’m definitely ready for the break myself.  After posting my review of Essentials earlier this week, we’re taking a break from the intensity of its daily lessons.  I also dropped handwriting and read alouds this week.  We spent a day at the Natural History Museum (and was tempted to give in when Ian begged to go back the next day).  The weather has been beautiful and I loved that the kids wanted to spend hours and hours outside.  So I feel like I’m already kicking into summer mode.


One thing we did accomplish was getting caught up in Our Planet Earth, our final book for the year in God’s Design for Heaven and Earth.  We read/discussed the moon and half of the planets in our solar system.  That inspired the boys to pull out Solarquest: The Space-Age Real Estate Game, (somewhat similar to Monopoly), a fun way to learn more about the planets and their moons.

We also watched a few videos:



I wish I had enjoyed math as much as Elijah does!

Math is the one subject I just can’t let go of during the summer, at least not completely.  We’re still in the thick of things as we try to finish up our curriculum for the year.  (Ian’s doing really well working independently with Teaching Textbooks Math 3 and Elijah’s still loving the challenge of MEP).  They’re both working through subtraction fact drills on xtramath.org (though Ian has almost mastered them and will be moving on to multiplication in the next week or so).

Actually, because the boys are also going through mini-courses from A+Interactive Math (Ian’s getting extra practice on Time, and Elijah’s doing Money), they both did a LOT of math this week.


 We’re having fun working on our first lapbook ever!  I’ve known about lapbooks since we first started homeschooling, but they’re not really my style (just seem really wasteful).  However, it’s part of our Beethoven unit in the review we’re doing on Zeezok Publishing’s Music Appreciation Book 1 Collection.  I’m curious to see how the boys like it when we have the whole thing finished.  Maybe I’ll have to overcome my reluctance.

Upcoming Reviews

We’re enjoying several products right now, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:


Wrapping Up Week 29 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
Somewhere in my counting of “weeks” of school I got ahead of myself last week, so this will be the second time I post about Week 29, but this time it really is.  Not that the count is at all important aside from turning in paperwork. My children’s education is such a natural part of our lifestyle that it seems rather silly to count certain days over other days and then stop counting at some magical number even though very little changes when they’re not “doing school.”  I think the main difference is that I try to get through a year-long curriculum during our official 36 weeks for certain topics.  After that it’s all just fun enrichment and continued practice.


This week we covered the lessons on the sun in Our Planet Earth (from God’s Design for Heaven and Earth).  The boys especially liked learning about solar eclipses and were so glad there was a whole page about when and where they could see the next one.  They’re planning a road trip for August 2017 to find an optimal viewing position.  For now they had to settle for creating their own model.

eclipse demo


I’m really impressed with how much the boys have learned this year in their IEW class going through Fables, Myths and Fairy Tales: Writing Lessons in Structure & Style.  This week they were finishing up their versions of The Ugly Duckling, and I was amazed at what a smooth process their writing assignments have become.  Last year it was like pulling teeth to get more than a sentence or two out of Ian, but the IEW program has made such a difference.  Now he not only knows what to write about, he knows how to put together an interesting story with varied stylistic techniques, and it’s a relatively painless process.

As a Kindergartner Elijah is really young for the class, but even he has learned so much and takes delight in finding just the right words to put his stories together.  I want this whole process to be a positive one for both boys, so I let them dictate their stories to me for now.  They follow the outlines they’ve created in class, and I type (or write, if we’re doing it during Arianna’s ballet class as often happens) their paragraphs as they dictate to me.  Then we come back to it another day and put in any “dress-ups” that didn’t already naturally come into their narration.  Both boys love sharing the stories with the other kids in the class.


Ian’s still plugging away at his Veritas Press Self-Paced History Course on the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation.  This week he covered Martin Luther, so in addition to his daily computer work I read aloud Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World by Paul L. Maier.

On his own, Ian read Martin Luther: What Should I Do? from a series by Catherine MacKenzie.  I’ve never read any of the Little Lights books before, but I was impressed with this book and decided to buy more in the series.  They’re all biographies of famous Christians, and they’re easy enough books that I didn’t hear any complaints from Ian when I asked him to read.  There are several that will easily go along with our history studies over the next couple years, and I might have him read others just for the exposure to great missionary stories.

Luther Maier   Luther MacKenzie 


One thing we spent a lot of time on this week was a Stopmotion Explosion project that Ian’s hoping to share with the IEW class in a few weeks.  We’re making a short film telling the story of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” of the the legends about King Arthur’s knights.  The whole process of taking the pictures, adding the sound, choosing music, and editing it all together has been educational for all of us, especially Ian.  I have a feeling this will just be the first of many such projects.

Stopmotion Explosion Review

Upcoming Reviews

We’re enjoying several products right now, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:


Wrapping Up Week 27 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 Between two field trips, and a cold that just won’t go away, this was kind of a crazy week.  I decided to spread some of our lesson plans over the next two weeks so I wouldn’t feel behind (especially because we also have another two field trips coming up this week).


The one subject we did get to was science.  I was battling a sore throat, so I had the boys switch off reading the “Beginners” sections up through lesson 10 in Our Planet Earth (from God’s Design for Heaven and Earth).  It ended up leading to some good discussion between the three of us, so I think I might do that more often.  Then I let them watch three episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy: “Outer Space,” “Comets & Meteors,” and “The Planets.”

Field Trips

first flightThe boys (and Daddy) had a great time at the First Flight field trip sponsored by the Mighty Ducks hockey team.  They learned a lot about electricity and had a blast exploring the different exhibits and watching the demonstration on the ice.

Our other field trip was to a restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen, with a group of homeschool friends.  The kids got to tour the kitchen and make their own pizzas, and it was definitely a hit.  It’s one of those things I would never have thought to arrange, but I’m so thankful for the community with which God has surrounded us.  Having other moms around who come up with fun ideas broadens our horizons.

Upcoming Reviews

We’ve got a lot on our plate right now!  Watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:

Wrapping Up Week 24 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 Two down, one to go.  We are officially finished with our second term of this school year!  I feel like we’re not getting in a lot of school these days, but really when I look at it that’s because I’ve made the boys be so self-sufficient this year.  They do math, language arts, and Spanish all on their own on the computer, and I just make sure they’re getting through their checklists, help them with any assignments for their writing class, and read with them.  I’m trying to be okay with not having a lot of extras on a regular basis.


Elijah completing his MEP worksheet with the help of Cuisenaire rods.



 This week we started Our Universe, the only book we’ve yet to go through in God’s Design for Heaven and Earth.  Ian was really interested in space a few years ago, but I think he got burnt out when we attempted to go through Exploring Creation With Astronomy from Apologia in Kindergarten.  We haven’t touched on the subject since, and I’m hoping we can rekindle some of that interest this term, using this book just as a launching pad for exploring specific things that interest him.

Astronomy 1I put on a DVD I bought that year but we had never watched called What You Aren’t Being Told About Astronomy Volume 1: Our Created Solar System.  It’s rather long (112 minutes), but Ian sat and watched the whole thing and didn’t want me to turn it off part way through.  (I thought it was a little dry and probably better for older kids, but Ian really learns well from things I think would be above the heads of most kids his age.)  I think it would be better used in smaller chunks, because it covers a lot of information.

Read Alouds

We continued reading Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter, just finishing it up this weekend.  I wasn’t sure how a book almost entirely about one little girl and the adults around her was going to go over, but it was a big hit all around.  Ian was constantly begging for more chapters, and Elijah and Arianna actually stayed and listened for most of it as well, which is unusual for them.

Dragon and the RavenWe also enjoyed stepping back in history with The Dragon and the Raven, the latest audio adventure from Heirloom Audio Productions.  Based on the G.A. Henty novel by the same name, it tells about the triumph of Alfred the Great over the Danes.  Ian learned about Alfred the Great in his Veritas Press history course a while back, so it was a fun chance to revisit his story.  (I’ll be posting a detailed review in a few weeks.)

Wrapping Up Week 23 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 Anyone concerned about homeschooling and socialization would have their fears alleviated by what our past week looked like:

  • Monday: play date
  • Tuesday: writing class, play date, and wrestling
  • Wednesday: ballet, church, TrailLife
  • Thursday: gymnastics and wrestling
  • Friday: music classes (choir, handchimes, composer study, and more)

I can definitely say I am NOT concerned about my children’s socialization.  Having all our activities in full swing has made it challenging to do any “extras” when it comes to school work, and then throwing in a couple play dates this week meant we really didn’t do much beyond the basics.


We finished up Our Planet Earth this week, so we’re now two-thirds through the God’s Design for Heaven and Earth curriculum we’re using this year.  We learned a lot about caves during our visit to Carlsbad Caverns back in October, so we didn’t linger on that lesson, just reviewed what we’d seen there.  I also let the boys watch Buddy Davis’ Amazing Adventures: Extreme Caving, which is a great DVD for learning more about the subject from a biblical worldview.

Read Alouds

I must admit I rushed through Ian’s choice of chapter book (Stanley in Space from the Flat Stanley series by Jeff Brown).  Even as a kid, I liked books that were either pure fantasy (like Narnia) or could really happen, and this series blurs that line too much for my taste.  I was glad when we finished it and got to move on to my choice: Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter (no pun intended).  My old childhood copy was so tattered I decided to get a nice new one for our family library.  Ian’s been enjoying it more than I anticipated, and he begs me to read more each time.



I’m really happy with the decision to switch Elijah to Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP).  It’s just challenging enough to stretch him without being frustrated.  When I decided to use it with him I printed out all the practice book pages for the rest of the year (from lessons 96-175).  I’ve been stapling together 6-8 pages that I want him to try to get through in a week, and hopefully we’ll have no problem finishing out the year on time.

Ian is still thriving on Teaching Textbooks Math 3, making me glad that we have so many options to choose from to find a curriculum that works well for each child. They both continue to practice facts each day on xtramath.org.

A few final thoughts

We had a lot of good family time this week.  Our church is going through a study on the gospel of Mark, so we’re using our evening Bible time to go a little deeper.  We finally broke out our flannel board set, and the kids had a lot of fun using the pieces the tell the story of Jesus’ baptism.

We also spent a couple evenings playing games together.  Daddy and the boys had fun with Sorry, and then the boys and I played several rounds of our new favorite, Qwirkle, which we also taught Daddy and Grandma.


Upcoming Reviews

We’re enjoying several products right now, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:

Wrapping Up Week 21(2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16

This was a week for changing plans to “go with the flow.”  I had planned to ease our way back into school after the holiday break.  But then we were just having so much fun, we ended up doing more schoolwork than I think we’ve ever crammed into a week.

Bridge Unit

The core of my plans for the week was a bridge unit.  Both older boys are really into building right now, so I had given Elijah the K’NEX Education – Intro to Structures: Bridges set for Christmas.  Eli really prefers creative construction to following directions, but I wanted him to learn about specific building techniques that he could use, so we pulled out The Bridge Book to learn about different types of bridges, and each boy built one of the models in the K’NEX kit.

However, my plans to further explore bridge construction were cast aside by other subjects as we got into our lessons, so that’s as far as we got.  I’m sure we’ll come back to bridges another time.

Circle Time

Jesus Calling for KidsI’ve missed the way we used to start our school days together, so I decided to begin cultivating the habit of “circle time” each morning once again.  We do our main family Bible study together with Daddy in the evenings (now that we’re through the Advent season, we’re back to Old Story New by Marty Machowski), so I didn’t really want to do Bible stories.  Instead I wanted to focus connecting with God in a personal way as we start our days.  Someone had given me a copy of Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids a while back, so I pulled it off the shelf and we started in with it.  Everyone seemed to listen an absorb it well, so I think we’ll stick with it for while.  The page introducing January featured Jeremiah 29:13, and all three older kids did a great job memorizing that verse over the course of the week.

Jeremiah 29 13
I originally planned to use this time for Five in a Row as well.  On Monday we read The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift and Lynd Ward, which Ian and I rowed a few years ago.  I thought it would be great to go along with our bridge unit.  However, our history lessons got us yearning for Venice and the Silk Road, so we ended reading a different picture book each day:

Little Red Lighthouse Papa Piccolo I Vivaldi Orphan Singer Single Pebble


This week Ian jumped back into his Veritas Press Self-Paced History Course on the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation with a week on Marco Polo.  Both boys were absolutely fascinated by the lessons, and we spent a lot of time exploring related subjects.


Marco Polo’s home town has long been a favorite around here, ever since we first “rowed” Papa Piccolo a few years ago.  We revisited some of our favorite books, CDs, and videos about Venice and the famous Venetian composer Vivaldi.  (See those posts for other ideas to go along with a study of Venice.)  The kids will be learning about Vivaldi in their composer class this semester, so it seemed like a good time to review what Ian had learned and introduce the others.

  • I, Vivaldi (Lovely picture book that tells the story of Vivaldi’s life)
  • The Orphan Singer (story about a girl who sings with at the Pieta school in Venice where Vivaldi worked.  Not completely accurate, but still gives a glimpse into this piece of history.)
  • Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery (Audio CD) Ian has listened to this several times a year since we first found it.  I think it’s his favorite of all the titles in Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the Classical Kids Collection (though we’ve enjoyed them all).  I didn’t realize there’s also a book to go along with the story, so I just ordered it to surprise him.  (We have a couple of the others that complement the CDs in the series already and love them.)
  • Italy: My Palace In Venice (8-minute streaming video featuring a Venetian boy sharing about his home)
  • VENICE, Italy (25-minute streaming video that provides a good introduction to the city)
  • Ancient Mysteries – Miraculous Canals of Venice (This is a fascinating program about how Venice was built and the dangers facing it in modern times.  I watched it on Netflix years ago, but now that’s it’s no longer streaming I bought the DVD because it’s so interesting.)
The Silk Road

Last year my mom had visited a museum exhibit on the Silk Road and brought us several books as gifts, so we were glad to get a chance to pull them out this week.  The text of Marco Polo for Kids: His Marvelous Journey to China, is still a little too advanced for my kids this time around (though we probably could have done some of the projects), so we stuck with The Silk Route: 7,000 Miles of History, which has a great map in the front of it which I copied and laminated so the boys could follow along as I read the book (as well while we read A Single Pebble: A Story of the Silk Road during Circle Time one day).

Marco Polo for Kids Silk Route
Silk Road map
We also started re-reading Peril in the Palace (AIO Imagination Station Books), in which Patick and Beth travel to the court of Kublai Khan and meet Marco Polo.  The biggest hit of the week, however, was a series I stumbled across on Netflix called The Adventures of the Young Marco Polo (which I couldn’t find listed on Amazon).  All the kids really enjoyed watching this show (Nico would beg for “Marco”), and the older boys liked checking our map to see where the characters were on their journey along the Silk Road.


As if our history studies weren’t enough, we also had a fun time catching up on our lessons in Our Planet Earth from God’s Design for Heaven and Earth.  (I wanted to keep December light, so I decided to set it aside for a few weeks before the holidays.)  We actually got completely caught up by spending three days focusing on various topics:

Rocks and minerals (Lessons 15-18)

This was probably my favorite area of science as a child, so I have a small collection of geodes and other mineral samples that all the kids enjoyed getting to examine.

Ian also wanted to do the curriculum worksheet on the twelve stones described in the priest’s breastplate in Exodus 28:17-20.  We found some disagreement between the stones listed on the worksheet (or the colors they described) and our Bibles and other books we looked in, but it led to some deeper study, so it didn’t really bother Ian.

The two books he used for reference were the Stereogram Book of Rocks, Minerals, & Gems (old, but really helpful, and cool with the special viewing lenses) and Rocks & Minerals: A Gem of a Book, part of the Basher Science Books collection.

Earthquakes (Lessons 22-23)

Living in California has given us plenty of experience with earthquakes, so we didn’t do much besides read through these lessons in the book and discuss why building codes are different here than in other parts of the country that are more concerned with tornadoes or hurricanes.

Volcanoes (Lessons 24-26)

No, we didn’t build a volcano (though Ian certainly wanted to). We settled for reading the lessons and then watching several videos.

  • Introduction to Volcanoes (3-minute video to use to start a study of volcanoes)  All my kids loved it and we had to watch it twice.  In fact, it’s so fabulous I just have to share it here.

Final Thoughts

I didn’t even touch on some of the changes I made with math and language arts, but since there’s still some settling to do there, I think I’ll hold off on writing about those until I’ve got a little more figured out.

Upcoming Reviews

The Schoolhouse Review Crew is heading back to work, so we should have some new products to share about in the weeks to come!

Wrapping Up Week 17 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16

It’s amazing how much a little structure can change things.  When we moved back in June, we took down our Accountable Kids pegboards, and they’ve sat in a box ever since, just waiting to be put back to use.  Two weeks ago we finally got around to mounting them on the wall, and consequently the kids accomplished an amazing amount of things they’d neglected in the last few months, like practicing the piano, getting laundry regularly, and helping with the dishwasher.

I used some of the time that allowed me to get back into the DVDs from IEW’s Teaching Writing: Structure and Style seminar.  As the boys have progressed in their writing class (using Fables, Myths and Fairy Tales: Writing Lessons in Structure & Style) I find that I really need to know how the IEW system works to be able to help them.  They are both young to be attempting this material, and they definitely need some “scaffolding” to get through it, but I think they’re both getting a lot out of the class, and we’re just trying to introduce the ideas this year.  We find ourselves having lots of conversations about finding interesting words to describe the world around us.

“Conversational” is probably the best word to describe our whole week.  We got caught up through lesson 14 in Our Planet Earth (from God’s Design for Heaven and Earth), just reading the text and talking through the different kinds of rocks.

In math, I only had Ian do two lessons in Teaching Textbooks Math 3 and we spent a lot of time playing games to help the boys learn their multiplication facts (excluding 7’s, 8’s, and 9’s).

We finished reading Marianna Mayer’s adaptation of Ivanhoe.  I think I’m going to quit on Pinocchio though.  I remember really enjoying it as a child, and perhaps if I’d been more intentional about finding time to read it we’d be more enthusiastic, but as it is, Ian’s not thrilled with it and we’re not terribly motivated to pick it up.  Perhaps I’ll come back to it with the younger children in a few years.  There are just so many wonderful books I want to read with all of the kids during Advent, so it’s time to just put Pinocchio away.

A few final thoughts

The older three children had their final choir performance for the semester on the Friday before Thanksgiving, which helped me really feel ready for the holidays to begin.  We wrapped up a few loose ends in history and writing this week (which is why I’m posting a week late), but now we’re just enjoying the holiday break and looking forward to the joyous anticipation of Advent.


Wrapping Up Week 13 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 We really eased back into school as we started up our second term, mostly because we decided to head out on a road trip for the next week and I didn’t want to get in too deep before that.

The only big change we had for this term was in science, as we moved onto Our Planet Earth, another of the three books in God’s Design for Heaven and Earth.  Ian read the first two lessons out loud to me as we drove, and then we had a great discussion about how everything we see originally came from materials God put on the earth.  Ian wanted to try to make his own cement (I wasn’t quite up to that), and we learned about how glass is made (with a clip from Some Assembly Required).

We got through a pretty normal week of school without any extras because we were getting ready for our trip.  Then we drove overnight from Southern California to Albuquerque, where we had a blast at the ABQ BioPark Zoo.  I was so impressed with the animals at the zoo (zoos that size around us don’t have any of the big feature animals, so I was pleasantly surprised to find elephants, giraffes, tigers, and so much more), and the kids were all SO excited to get so close them, especially Nico, who hasn’t been to a zoo since he was a tiny baby.  Then we walked through the aquarium marveling over more of God’s wonders, and finally wrapped up the day by exploring the amazing Children’s Fantasy Garden (part of the Botanic Garden).  It was an awesome day of learning all around, so I don’t feel too badly that I didn’t pack much school work for next week.  I’m anticipating lots of sun learning days.

ABQ BioPark 1 ABQ BioPark 2 ABQ BioPark 3 ABQ BioPark 4ABQ BioPark 5

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