Friday, September 26, 2014

6 Years Ago

6 years ago we met a little boy for the first time. We looked at the cute smile, the brown eyes, the quiet look and we knew he was ours. He talks about when we met him and tells how he really didn't know what was happening.

I am thankful for the last 6 years that we have had with him and look forward to more years to come.

We posed today to update the photo above.

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Celebrating 11 Years

11 Years Ago

Eleven years ago we said, "I do." We knew we wanted to spend the rest of lives together but we didn't know what all that would mean. Thankfully God knew all the twists and turns. God is faithful and we can trust him.

This past year has been a year of waiting as we spent a large part of the year waiting for our visa for the UK. Sometimes marriage is about waiting. We have seen God's faithfulness in the waiting.

Eleven years later I am thankful for my husband, his leadership, his love, and his faithfulness. Looking forward to more years together.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Praying for the Heart - A Wise Heart

A Wise Heart

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10)

We need wisdom for direction, for how to respond, in decisions we make, and so many other aspects of life. There are so many areas and times of the day in which we need wisdom. This is wisdom from the Lord and not man’s wisdom, which is foolishness. We need to learn to go to the source of wisdom. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;” (Proverbs 2:6)

Solomon is considered the wisest man that lived. So much of Proverbs is written about being wise.

Blessings come from wisdom (Proverbs 3:13). The wise will inherit honor (Proverbs 3:35).

The opposite of a wise heart is a foolish heart. We don’t want to consider ourselves foolish, but whenever we are not filled with the wisdom from above we are fools.

A wise heart knows the source of wisdom and seeks wisdom from God for all decisions of life.

What are some areas that you need wisdom? Do you seek wisdom from above?

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

V is for Victory Drill

This blue book brings back my own memories of school. I remember using this and seeing how many words we could read in a minute.

Victory Drill Book is a book that is phonetic and is designed to help build speed in reading. I had it on my shelf didn't use it much with J. This year I am working to build both Miss K's phonics and her sight words. One of the things to help build the sight words is Victory Drill. You could also use it for a bit of phonics but I am just using it to build speed on sight words.

Each page has a theme -- the same vowel sound, the same ending, or same blends. There are review pages that will include words covered in the previous few pages. There are also pages with sentences.

The first few pages are easy words for Miss K. She is reading about 55 wpm which is what they suggest for a 2nd grader. I don't correct her words while she reads but do come back and review the words.

This has been a great resource along with sight words.

Have you ever used Victory Drill?


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Beginning to Homeschool Your Special Needs Child

I have heard a few people as the question, "What do I begin to homeschool a special needs child?" Beginning to homeschool can be intimidating enough and adding a child with special needs can just raise the intimidation level. You wonder if you can do it. For whatever reason you decide that it is the best thing for your child but what do you do.

1. Know and understand the laws and requirements for where you live. The laws and requirements vary in some cases it might be a bit different if you are home schooling a special needs child. In PA where we lived for four years I needed to have the objectives reviewed by a special needs evaluator. Know what you need to do to homeschool a special needs child. HSLDA has a chart that shows each state and the requirements.

2. Know what resources are available to your child. You may or may not use them but it is good to know what is available. We did therapy through the school for a year. It meant I had to take her to the school and stay as it was just 45 minutes or an hour. Then I discovered a therapy play centre nearby that insurance covered. In many ways that was a better fit for us. What resources does your child need? What is available? What do you need to supplement?

3. Evaluate your child.  This can be a challenge. Play the role of a special education teacher and observe your child. If you child is kindergarten age compare what your child can do to a kindergarten readiness chart. Is your child verbal? This is going to give you the starting place with where to being. Fill in the things that the child needs to know while at the same time teaching a bit above where the child is.

4. Know your goals for your child. What are your goals for your child? I have both specific goals for a subject and broad goals, goals for this year and goals for life. One of the reasons that I began homeschooling Miss K was I knew that she had potential and felt that the school district was not going to push her or give her the opportunities to learn. Maybe she able to get a job in a Starbucks (I would come visit her regularly) or other fast food place and would love for her to have the ability to take orders and even work a cash register. Maybe she could get a job in a store or a company. For me sometimes having these goals give me ideas on how to teach her and what she needs to know.

There is not necessarily one curriculum that works for all special needs children. I have written at various times about reading and math both some of the things that have worked and some of the challenges we have.

Teaching Reading
Teaching Math

Some of posts about homeschooling special needs:
I am willing to waste my time
Getting Started Homeschooling a Special Needs Child

You can do it. I might take extra time but it is worth it.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Week in Review - 19 September 2014

This seemed to be a week of long days. I don't know if that makes the week go slow or fast. I am still trying to decide. Some of the long days were doing other things in the day and some was just slow unfocused children. 

Monday we began with a science experiment. I think my son was shocked that we were doing one. I don't like science experiments as they take too much time, are messy, require supplies that we don't have or don't work the way they should. This involved things that we had -- egg yolks, water and salt water. 

It even worked. We were demonstrating osmosis. The yolk in the salt water got smaller while the yolk in water got bigger.

We did some therapy with Miss K. We did various things on the peanut -- rolling and reaching and also cross over activities. 

She is supposed to pick up the animal with the opposite hand and then toss it into a bowl.

We bought a bird feeder. We have a large window in our dining room/school room so it is perfect to sit and watch the birds. I think I have seen wood pigeons, magpies, and a sparrow. We might have to learn a bit more about British birds.

I did try to pause this week and work on some hands-on projects. I love just doing the book work because that is easy to check off and we can be done but hands-on projects allow us to dig into our learning and we might even get our hands dirty. Miss K is working on a salt dough map of Africa.  It is successful when my husband can look at it and know what we created. Now we are waiting for them to dry.

J is working on his. He decided to do just a part of Africa so he could get the lake and mountains.

I did something different this week. I took our roll of drawing paper and put a piece across the table. It was just there to doodle, calculate, write Latin or whatever. It is fun to do something different every now and then.

One of my goals has been to teach the children more household things such as cooking. J is supposed to cook dinner once a week. Right now I am still in the kitchen helping and directing but he is improving. He decided he wanted to make meatloaf. He was teaching Miss K. He did everything except chop onion. Chopping onions makes him cry. I told him to used the dried minced onions but we ran out. (Adding that to my Shady Maple list.) He did great. We had meatloaf and mashed potatoes with a salad.

I made it through the week. Some weeks that is an accomplishment.

Sunday we have an English Tea at our church for the international students. I need to make something to take. Pray that we are able to connect with the new international students that have come to study here.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

U is for Ukraine

Six years ago this time we were getting ready to travel to the Ukraine. Our appointment with State Department for Adoption was scheduled for the 25th of September. It was at that appointment that we would look through the files of children available to adopt and select a child.

The process took longer than we thought and planned. It ended up that we were there for about 6 weeks. Most of that time was spent in the eastern part of the country. We walked to the local supermarket, we found a few places to eat and spent time visiting J.

Now that part of Ukraine is in the news because of the fighting. We watch the news thankful that J is no longer living there. We pray for the Christians there as there is persecution for them.

U is for Ukraine. As Miss K would say, "J born".


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open days is an opportunity to visit and celebrate England's architecture or culture with free admission or access to places normally closed to the public. This is for four days in September. I learned about it from a home educators online group. I have to say that the website makes it easy to find things in your area. You can sort by town or by postal code. There were 57 events in our town and I am sure a number more in the surrounding area.

I selected places to visit based on location and what looked interested.

Endcliffe Hall one of the largest private residences here was just a few miles away. We have driven past it numerous times but didn't know it. We thought it would be an opportunity to learn a bit of local history.

Endcliffe Hall was built by John Brown who later became Sir John Brown. He was know as the Father of the South Yorkshire Iron Trade.

The tour began on the outside and we noticed how on the right side of the house it was very decorated and the left side was plain. No, he didn't run out of money, the left side was the kitchen and other staff areas and just didn't need to be as fancy.

The house was built in 1863 to 1865. It has been through some changes but the fireplaces are the original.

We went inside and saw about three rooms. In 1914 the house was sold to the Territorial Army and has been a TA Centre since then. The walls were filled with paintings from the army.

This gives just a view of how big the entry way was.

You know how good tour guides make even the most boring places exciting as they weave a story and interact with the group. (I am remembering the tour of a mine we did here and how exciting the tour guide made the boat ride down a narrow passage in the dark.) Well, we had a tour guide that gave us the facts. I felt we missed a bit of what we could have learned but we did learn a bit of local history.

The other place that I selected for Heritage Open Days was the Cathedral where they said it was 1000 years of local history in one day.

Here is the cathedral as we walked up the alley toward it.

There was a displace from the Homefires burning. This "soldier" was telling and pointing to where the bombs had landed during WWII. The city was sacrificed in order to keep the steel factories just a mile or two away safe.  My husband loves WWII history and so this was fascinating to him.

J had an opportunity to hold a medieval shield. It was heavy.

As we entered the cathedral we were greeted by a gentleman from the Tudor time. He had a code for the children to solve. They were to help the Earl of Shrewsbury to foil a treacherous plat against Queen Elizabeth. (I wonder if that is a part of true history from this area; I guess I have some research to do.)

It was such a lovely building inside.

There were a number of hands-on things that the kids could do. Miss K made a plaster something and also had a chance to play the handbells.

Here she is all dress like a Victorian child. She would have loved to have worn that the rest of the day.

I am not sure what J did that landed him in the stocks. Really what he did was open the stocks and stick his head in there. He was a bit big and so he couldn't really put his head up.

I was impressed with the hands-on activity. Miss K rolled a beeswax candle.

This was a much better experience and we did enjoy our time there. I am glad that we explored and learned a bit about the local history.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week in Review - 12 September 2014

The goal for the week was get home, unpack, put things away, begin to get into the autumn routine, and do a bit of school. I love the flexibility of homeschool.

We traveled Monday, saying good-bye to Switzerland. I can add a new country to our layover list -- Denmark.

We had French hot dogs for lunch. Years ago I used to travel to Singapore often to visit friends and one of the things we enjoyed doing was buying Danish hot dogs from a kiosk on Orchard Road. The hot dog was stuck down in the bread.

In the airport they had a place selling these but there they called them French hot dogs. So are these French or Danish? I don't know but I do know that they are good. I will give you a time that European mustard is strong.

It was great to be home.

Tuesday began the crazy terrific day. I am going to Bible study at church. I am excited to be part of this group and dig deep into I Peter. Miss K goes with me and sits at a table with some other kids. If I am lucky, she will do a page or two of school work. J stays home with a list of things to do though that will change next week in that he will have a morning flute lesson. The flute teacher's house is on our way to church.

Then at 4:00 Miss K goes back to church for kids club. I stay and visit with the other mums. Before we get home J is beginning his piano lesson and we get home in time for Miss K to get her short lesson. Then it is time for tea/dinner. In two weeks our international Bible study will begin so at 7:30 it will be back to church.

Walking to church three times in a day will give me some good exercise. I decided to just put everything in one day and have one crazy day.

So this week we didn't do much school on Tuesday. I will have to decide what can get done on Tuesdays in the coming weeks.

Wednesday was back to the books.

Thursday was back to the books and an outing. I had seen an email about Heritage Open Days and discovered that Endcliffe Hall which was not far from us was open from 11:00 - 14:00. I read a bit about it online and decided to make an outing of it.

I think this was a case of a good tour guide makes the difference. You know one that weaves exciting stories together and tells you interesting facts in the story. That was not the tour guide we had. It was still interesting to get a bit of local history. 

Friday again we got the books out. We did some history. J finished writing his narrative on The Red Rose. I am loving the Classical Composition books. 

That wraps up our week. We have another outing planned for the Heritage Open Days and I will write about both of those. 

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

T is for Taipei

It is Saturday evening and I am just now deciding on my topic for T. It is not that T is a difficult letter. I think it was a combination of recovering from traveling and needing time to think about what to write and not having inspiration. 

T is for Taipei

My first visit to Taipei was April 16, 1991. You can do the math and realise that was a number of years ago. I am not telling you how old I was. When I arrived, I was only staying for 60 day. I didn't realise how much my life was changed by that trip and how many years I would actually live there.  I wrote a bit about that here is My Asia Journey Part 1. I do need to write the other parts to this story. That will have to wait.

It was the first time I really lived in a city -- taxis, buses. I walked to work. I ate lunch out often -- Wendys, or the cafeteria at the bank (Chinese cafeteria food) and Pizza Hut once in a while.

I lived there for about 9 years. I hold the record in our family for the person that lived there the longest.

The city did change from when I first lived there till I moved. The MTR made it much easier to get around the city. I did have a car for a few of the years that I lived there. They drive the same as the US. 

I made some wonderful friends while living there. It is fun to connect and see them now. One friend was in England the other week and we were able to get together. Another friend we met in Switzerland. 

Taipei holds many memories for me.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Switzerland in photos and some words

Warning: This post has photos, lots of photos. This is a "what I do on my summer vacation" report. If you don't like photos, just skip and come back and visit another day. 

The other week we looked at our calendar and realised that we had not taken much holiday/vacation this summer and our fall was going to be busy with ministry, new students, training, meetings, conferences so we looked at our options. As home schoolers,  some of the best time to go on holiday is when the schools are back in session. We couldn't decide where to go. Switzerland was mentioned and so we contacted one of the children's leaders who is from Switzerland. We met Dom from last summer at our training in Asia. The timing was perfect as he was off work and didn't have anything planned. A family was his church had space and so we were able to stay with them.

We were so blessed and challenged by their hospitality. They opened their home to strangers, shared their food, and even an extra car. God provided in so many ways.

When Miss K hears Switzerland, she would respond with cheese and chocolate. Last summer Dom had shown the children a DVD entitled More Than Cheese and Chocolate. Miss K loves cheese and chocolate and so that was all she heard.

We spent some time in the small town walking around. We were in a village/town on Lake Zurich.

After wandering around the town a bit, we decided to take the ferry and go to Zurich.

It was about 1 1/2 hour ferry ride with stops along the way. Riding the ferry was a fun way to see the countryside.

Here is just a village along the river. I love the shutters on the windows.

We did get some chocolate. Miss K doesn't like nuts so she just got some plain milk chocolate. (Her brother has told her that Nutella has nuts so she stayed away from that. Then she had it and discovered it is chocolate and now she is trying to tell her brother that it doesn't have nuts.)

The shop smelled so good. It was hard to not buy one of each. I really do like dark chocolate.

We went to the Toy Museum. It was just a small area and had toys made in Europe. We saw a Bild Lilli which was the inspiration for Barbie. The lady working at the museum was very informative and showing us all the different things. According to her the Bild Lilli doll was discovered in Zurich by a Mattel executive though in my reading now online it could have been Lucerne, Zurich or Vienna.

Dom told us about Globi. It was an advertising character for a department store. We did see him outside of the museum.

We enjoyed the toy museum. It wasn't that big of a museum but it interesting and worth a short visit. The toys had so much detail. 

We went up one of the mountains near where we were staying. It was a cloudy day so we didn't get that many photos but as we were driving down the mountain we had to stop and allow the cows to wander home. All the cows wear bells. It is a nice pleasant sound.

We did quite a bit of walking while we were there. I enjoyed walking through the town and cities and looking at the buildings.

We did find a number of stores selling Swiss Army knives. Some of the knives are cute and ones that I would like. When we lived in Asia, my husband bought a Swiss Navy watch. We didn't see any Swiss Navy products.

We found chocolate. It was difficult to decide what chocolate to try.

On Friday we drove to Lucerne. We went to the transportation museum which was a great museum with lots of trains, planes, cars, boats, and other things relating to transportation. There was a flight stimulator and so I went for a flight with J. The first thing that he was a victory roll and then we levelled out and flew over the fields.

Friday evening Aunt B came to visit. She is working at a mission centre about an hour away. Aunt B has been a part of the children's lives so it was good for them to spend time with her. On Saturday morning after a leisurely breakfast we wandered through the old town.

We wandered along the river and enjoyed the view.

It was Saturday morning and there were vendors. We did have some wonderful bread while we were in Switzerland.

Miss K was excited to see cheese. There were a number of vendors selling cheese.

We walked across the medieval Chapel Bridge which is there in the centre of the town. It is considered one of the oldest covered bridges in Europe. The tower actually predates the bridge.

Miss K stood on her tip toes to look out and see the town. The top of the bridge had triangular paintings.

I know roofs might be an interesting thing to take a photo of but I think sometimes it is interesting to go to a place and look at the roofs. I think I have taken photos of roofs in Italy, China, and other places.

Sunday we went to church with our host and enjoyed watching and being part of the worship. How beautiful to know that around the world so many worship the living God. We sang 10,000 Reasons me in English and the rest in Swiss German. Just imagine what it will be like for people from every tongue and nation to be gathered at the throne singing.

The weather was almost hot. It was about 28 C and so we decided to go to the lake that afternoon. Our host loaned us a blow up boat which Kylie enjoyed and a few other things to enjoy in the water. It was so nice to sit and look at the water and the mountains.

This gives just a bit of the view we enjoyed.

It was a wonderful holiday and we were blessed in so many ways. Now we are home and getting back into the routine here.

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