Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nature Books

I was wandering in the thrift store the other month and found some natures books on the shelf. I love when I find a collection of books at one time. You also can't beat the 69 cents per book.

These are part of a set of nature books written by Margaret Waring Buck. She was born in New York in 1905 and was an illustrator and naturalist. Some of the books she wrote were In Ponds and Streams, In Yards and Gardens, In Woods and Fields, Where they Go in Winter, Along the Seashore, Animals through the Year and a few others. These books where published in the early to mid-1950s.

The books are illustrated in black and white and while I love the color books that we find there is something simple about these illustrations. These are perfect for nature artwork.

I have a dream of having a nature shelf or table and these books would be perfect for this. They have a vintage look that I love as well.

Have you found some fun books at a thrift store or maybe a new author there?

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Week in Review - March 28, 2014

We finished Mystery of History this week. Yeah!! I wrote a bit about Volume I last year and should do the same for Volume II.

Since we finished that I wanted to add something to our together morning time. There is just too much of the school year remaining to drop history. I am still wondering how it is the end of March already. Didn't we just begin January? We do school year round but do other things in the summer. I decided to spend some time in ancient Greece and Greek Myths. I will share a bit more about that later.

We are continuing with Star Chronicles. I am enjoying it and really learning some new things. Just another occasion of learning along with your children either it was taught in school and I forgot it or it was a gap in my education.

We finished North Africa this week. We tried to play a set/matching game but decided Bingo is so much easier. Next week we begin Europe in geography.

The kids enjoyed playing Jenga. I am impressed with their Jenga skills they built the tower up to 26 or maybe it was 28. Bob has done a great job teaching Miss K how to play. I figure it is a good fine motor skill for her.

We are continuing to use Horizons with Miss K. Horizon's uses a number line but instead we do pull out our Math-U-See blocks and use those. I was busy doing something this morning and Miss K did the first part of her math book on her own. Yeah!! Way to go.

We review math facts, counting by 5's, 10's or 2's and telling time on a regular basis. I do think the extra focus is helping. She needed a bit of time away from the blocks because she was fighting when I got them out. I have her copy a set of facts and then I drill her on those facts allowing her to look at the answer. This is part of errorless learning.

I wanted to take more photos this week and so I had the camera on the table. I didn't take as many but Miss K wanted to take some. Here is Focus. At least the photo is in focus.

You know you are a homeschooling mom when you have two big bags full of books that you checked out from the library.

This week I read the book The Firekeeper's Son. I had seen it on a list of geography books. It is just a short picture book but such a great story. It is set in Korea and there were a series of fires that were a system of communication. The Firekeeper's son has a decision to make to light the fire or . . . You will have to read the book and find out. It had an excellent character teaching

The other book we read was Boxes for Katje. The setting is Holland after WWII. Katje receives a package from America and this begins a relationship with boxes going to Holland and then Katje sends a box to America. This is based on a true story. I will say that by the time I finished reading, I had to wipe the tears away.

We have had a wet week and I think there is more rain in the forecast for the weekend. I have been sorting things and beginning to pack in faith that we will have our visa soon.

This post contains affiliate links.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Homeschooling During Transition

This is an animal airplane that the children made. 
If you open it up, you will find it full of animals.  

This has been a year of transitions. Over a year ago we left our house on the east coast to spend some time on the west coast with our church here and supporters. We came thinking that we would be here for four months but those four months stretched into 13 months. In some ways we are settled but in many ways this is a time of transition.

Some of the things that I have learned during this time.

Keep going - Given the amount of time we had to keep doing school. School gave my children a routine that they were used to and kept at least that part of their life normal.

Make adjustments to curriculum - I couldn't have everything that we use and enjoy with us so you might have to make some adjustments to curriculum. When we came in February, I brought what we needed for the spring thinking that we would be settled for the fall. That didn't happen and so I had to make some adjustments. A time of transition might be a good time to do a unit study or some other learning activity. We are getting ready to do a unit study on Ancient Greece and Greek Myths.

Make adjustments to the schedule - The joy of homeschooling is the flexibility to the schedule. There were days that I put the books aside to meet emotional needs. A few days we need to just talk about we were feeling, what we missed, or what we looked forward to.

Look for new things to do - For us we have been here for longer than we planned but we have been able to do some things like swim team, co-op. We have done a few field trips maybe not as many as we could have but we did have fun.

Give grace - there were days that we need to give each other grace. There are times that we needed just a bit more patience with one another.

Guard your attitude - I know that my attitude sets the tone for our learning. I have to guard my heart. If I am complaining about the things we don't have, the children will pick up on that and add more comments.

At times living in transition has been difficult but homeschooling during the transition has helped us. We do have things that we are looking forward to unpacking and using. I trust that this has been a good family time for us and that we will look back with lots of memories.

Other posts about transition include:
Kids in Transition
Holidays while in Transition
T is for Transition

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

U is for Uncomfortable Grace

"God will take you where you never intended to go in order to produce in you what you could not achieve on your own." Paul Tripp

That is grace, uncomfortable grace. About the same time our pastor defined grace as "God doing what we could not do." That definition just helped to understand uncomfortable grace.

I have been listening to Paul Tripp's teaching on Mark 6:45-52 and what he called Uncomfortable Grace. In this passage Jesus tells the disciples to get in the boat and go to the other side of the lake. The disciples obeyed and a storm came. They were struggling, working hard to get to the other side. Where was Jesus in their suffering? Jesus sent them into a storm. He knew that the storm was coming. "God will take you where you never intended to go in order to produce in you what you could not achieve on your own." Jesus was there for the disciples and that is true for us today. "Sometimes you need the storm in order to see the glory."

There have been times of suffering in my life and this passage what a comfort to me. It helps me to see my suffering in a different light. It doesn't take away the suffering and the hurt. The Bible is clear that we live in a fallen world and suffering is part of that world.

How do we respond to suffering and pain? The only solution is to worship God. David writes in Psalm 27 about the trouble he was facing evildoers, adversaries, foes, an army encamped against him but in the midst of all that he proclaims his one desire "One thing have I asked of the Lord that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to base upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple." Gaze on the beauty of the Lord, remember who God is and what is has done, rest in the promises of God, wait and watch God work.

Suffering comes in all different ways at different times. This helped me to make sense of and change the way I view suffering. God is there in the midst of my suffering and desiring that through that I know him more.

I trust that this will help as you face struggles and suffering in your life. Gaze on the beauty of the Lord.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Week in Review - March 21, 2014

We have had a celebrating week -- last Friday it was Pi day, then Monday was St. Patrick's Day, and 3.21 is Down Syndrome Day. We had Corned Beef for St. Patrick's day. I think I make the corned beef so we can have leftovers and have corned beef hash for breakfast. We can't forget the 1st day of spring.

This week we had a family outing to get fingerprinted. It was all scanned and no more black ink. We need to get visa photos. Things are moving along. The transitional living just might be coming to an end. Actually it will just move to a new place as we will arrive and need to find a house. God will provide.

We are almost finished our Mystery of History Volume 2. Just two more lessons and we will be done. I have done almost zero activities. Some days I am thrilled with as much learning as we are doing this year considering everything.

We are continuing to work through Latin together. We begin our time with playing memory. I won today. I admit sometimes I don't try as hard as other times.

I have been enjoying the Star Chronicles. It is amazing to me how much Bible truths there are in the constellations. Did you see the giveaway?

Bob finished his flute lessons this week. He has really enjoyed the lessons. We are planning to look for a teacher when we move. I have enjoyed listening to him practice.

This was the last week of art class. His Seuss inspired art is hanging at the art store for a contest of the class. I found a Seuss inspired piece upstairs.

Bob wanted to make a cake. I did the easy thing and bought a mix and let him make it. I figure a mix is easy and gives him the confidence to try again.

I am taking a break from Math-U-See with Miss K and bought Horizons math. I bought the workbook and have been just using that but this week found the teacher's manual on the giveaway table at co-op. That is a blessing. She is beginning to make progress in her math.

Her memory is incredible in some areas. She can remember that we had ice cream for dessert at someone's house months ago so surely she can learn her math facts.

Miss K was working on cutting. I have the Kumon Cutting practice book and I love it. I cut the binding off and so every few days I give her a page to cut.

This was a week for me to finish projects. I finished a scarf that I was knitting for Bob. It was a basic ribbed pattern and if you look you will find mistakes but it was a good knitting practice project.

I also finished piecing a quilt. I borrowed a friend's sewing machine and did the quilt top. I had found Good Night Moon fabric. This is the split 9 pattern which is easy but looks so complicated.

That about wraps up our week. I am sorting and beginning to pack. Hopefully I will have some time to do that this weekend.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

World Down Syndrome Day

Wold Down Syndrome Day

March 21 - the 3rd month and the 21st day symbolizing the extra 21st chromosome.

I am not an expert on Down Syndrome. I am a mom who has lived for almost 10 years with a child with Down Syndrome has changed my life. She will tell you she is almost 10 and has been saying that since we celebrated her 9th birthday which we celebrated early. So almost 10 years.

1. Each child is unique so the abilities of one child might not be the same as another. Miss K is high functioning.

2. 50 percent of children with Down Syndrome have a heart defect at birth. I am so thankful that Miss K's heart was fixed and other than check-ups we are good to go.

3. 70 percent of children with Down Syndrome have a hearing problem. Miss K's hearing is fine; she can hear you mention chocolate a mile away and will be asking for some.

4. Miss K has an incredible memory. She remembers things that I don't even remember like the magnets that a friend has on his refrigerator or what she ate at someone's house.

5. Those with Down Syndrome might be delayed in learning but they can learn with some extra pushing and pulling. We no longer buy diapers.

6. Miss K keeps us laughing. She just got a suitcase and told us she is going on a trip to space. I guess that is one place that she has not been to.

7. Miss K had some speech delays and the major thing that we are addressing at this time is slowing down so we can understand her. She will chat and chat to herself.

I asked Bob what it is like to have a sister with Down Syndrome. He wanted to know why I was asking and then said he needed some time to think. He later told me that having a sister with Down Syndrome means she is slower and so we can to teach her all kinds of things. What insight and love he has for her. She is blessed to have him as a big brother and he is blessed to have her as his little sister.

Most days she is just Miss K but some days we do remember that extra chromosome that makes life extra fun and full of extra blessings.

Here is what I wrote last year.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Star Chronicles Giveaway ($275 value)

I have a memory being out in the middle of nowhere for a weekend retreat.  A friend and I going out driving and stopped the car and just looked up at the stars. We were far from any city lights and we could just see the stars. We sat there praising God, the Creator, for all he is and does. "The heavens declare the glory of God." 

We have been enjoying reading Star Chronicles: A Bible-Based Study of the Stars by Dawnita Fogleman. This is a unit study on the constellations and Bible prophecy. This is a great resource and I will be sharing more later. 

star chronicles giveaway   
cover flat 500x333 shadow

Star Chronicles Giveaway

To celebrate the upcoming release of Star Chronicles, I am excited to be joining the Star Chronicles Launch Team in sharing this fantastic giveaway, a perfect compliment to the Star Chronicles study and just plain fun for your homeschool! 

Here's what you can win: 

Star Chronicles: A Bible-Based Study of the Stars (paperback) $20 Celestron 70mm Travel Scope, sponsored by the following blogs: Ben and Me, Our Simple Kinda Life, Tots and Me, Marriage, Motherhood and Missions, Acorn Hill Academy, Family, Faith and Fridays, Our Homeschool Studio, As He Leads Is Joy, Angels of Heart, My So-Called Homeschool Life, Best Homeschool Academy by Mom to 3+2 Adopted Sibs, There Will Be a $5 Charge for Whining, Life Off the Paved Road $60 Astronomy and Space Unit Study and Lapbook + $30 gift certificate from A Journey Through Learning $42.50 Nature Study Bundle from Shining Dawn Books, including: Captivating Clouds, Remarkable Rain, and Flying Creatures of the Night $27 Moonfinder by Jay Ryan $15 31 Organizing Utility Tote  in Sea Plaid $30 DVD Collection from 2 Kingdoms/Cathy Friedlander, including Seed Messiah, He Calleth Them All by Their Names, I Want to Explore, Raton Pass Hummingbirds, But Ask Now the Beasts, and Tzon El: Our Zionist Dream $80 A total value of $275!

Enter to win!

To enter, use the Rafflecopter below. Residents of the U. S. and Canada (excluding Quebec), age 18 and older only. See Rafflecopter for additional terms and conditions.  a Rafflecopter giveaway star disclaimer

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Monday, March 17, 2014

The Pyrex Museum

I will admit I didn't even know there was a Pyrex Museum. I didn't know until a friend and I wandered into a flea market store and wandered through and discovered we were at the Pyrex Museum.

The Museum wasn't that big but the Pyrex was enough for me to drool for quite some time. I love Pyrex. I have Pyrex and we use our Pyrex.

I remember growing up my mom had some of the refrigerators containers in Butterprint. She still has those containers and uses them. The refrigerator containers are square and rectangle with a clear glass lid. They have three different sizes and they stack nicely. These are perfect for leftovers.

I think some of the first Pyrex that I received were the primary mixing bowls. It was a wedding gift from an uncle and aunt. I think they shop flea markets to make sets in order to give them out. I love my mixing bowls. They are great for mixing and also for serving. The large yellow bowl is perfect for a big lettuce salad and the little blue bowl is exactly what you need for gravy.

This is a view of one side of the museum. You can see the primary mixing bowls on the shelf. The primary color mixing bowls were very popular and then Pyrex updated them. I have not seen the updated colors much except the set my mom has.

Over the past few years I have added to my collection mostly when I find pieces at thrift stores. I think my favorite pattern is Friendship. The bright yellow and red just make me smile. It is difficult to find pieces in this pattern.

Remember the kitchen colors from the 70's. The Pyrex were the right colors for the kitchen with avocado green, harvest yellow/gold, and brown. In my Pyrex searching I seem to find quite a number of pieces in avocado green.

The Cinderella bowls are the ones with the handle and spout. I am not exactly sure why they are called Cinderella bowls. I have a few of them.  These are perfect for mixing up brownies or make a pie crust.

The bowls that are on my wish list is a set of the dots. Those might be on my wish list for a long time. I just love the bright cheeriness of the pattern.  There are four in the set -- green, yellow, blue and red/orange.

It was a fun discovery. The owner came over and talked with us for quite awhile. She has a few pieces for sale only those that are duplicates. She did recommend buying them when we find them. I do if it is a price I like and the piece does not look like it has been in the dishwasher. If you have vintage Pyrex, don't put it in the dishwasher. It might look like it is fine but over time it will have a washed out look and the color will disappear because of the hot temperatures and the soap. Take a few minutes and wash them by hand. 

The Pyrex Museum was a fun find during our girls weekend away. 

Do you have any vintage Pyrex? What is your favorite pattern?

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Week in Review - March 14, 2014

Happy Pi Day!
We walked to Trader Joe's and brought a blueberry pie because as Bob said, "that is dad's favorite kind."

My husband returned home earlier this week. It is good to have him home. Now if he can just join us in this time zone, jet lag was rough this time.

We are continuing to enjoy signs of spring. We are enjoying seeing some new birds visit our backyard.

We enjoy playing Settlers of Catan and are thankful for friends that will play with us. I discovered someone else around here that likes to play.

The baby dolls were ready to play until the game was interrupted by a big brother who discovered what had happened. I will admit that I counted all the roads, cities, and settlements as I put the game away. Please tell me I am not the only person who is crazy at times and counts all the pieces to toys and games.

Well, in history this week we read about the Black Death, The Forbidden City, and John Wycliffe. As we read about The Forbidden City we remembered our visit. One thing we remember is the heat but we also remember walking up and down the steps, looking at the animals on the roof, and the vast size.

The entrance to The Forbidden City

Bob decided he wants to study French again. We have used Memoria Press' First Start French. We will slowly work our way through that and then look at something else. I think at this time it is still a review course for him. He doesn't want to lose his French.

We are beginning Star Chronicles A Bible-Based Study of the stars.  It is fun learning about the stars and seeing so many parallels to the Bible.

We took a bit of a break on Friday. I just felt like we needed a slow day. Bob and I walked to Trader Joe's just to have some time to talk as our moving date is getting closer. One of the joys of homeschooling is to be able to take the time to reach the heart.

That wraps up our week here. What fun things do you do?

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Fine Motor Activity - Crumbling Paper

Miss K is getting her finger ready for some fine motor activities. I especially like to do a fine motor activity before we do handwriting. I have found that by pairing therapy with something else the therapy is more likely to be done.

This sounds so easy and yet when I did it myself. I realized how it works the fingers and also the hand. Try it. I found this idea on another blog but thought it would be an easy activity and something fun.

Get some paper. I discovered a purpose for junk mail. We used the catalog from the local community college. I have more paper to use.

Use your fingers and crumble.

Make a ball. (She was working hard at this activity, her tongue is out.)

To add some more fun to the activity, throw the crumbled paper into the waste can.

I think we might need to work on our paper toss skills.

I am ready to get our things that are in storage and find more fine motor activities. I have a number of things pinned on Pinterest.

Do you have a favorite fine motor activity?

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Week in Review - March 7, 2014

We are marching through March. Bob came in excited today that he found a daffodil. The promise that spring is coming.

My husband is out of town this week and so the challenge is to keep school routine, the house clean, and eat meals that are not frozen fish sticks. I think I have fed them some good meals this week only fish sticks once and that was for lunch.

We are moving through the Middle Ages and this week read about Marco Polo, Sir William Wallace & Robert Bruce, Dante Alighieri, and the The Aztecs. After reading about Sir William Wallace and Scotland we had to have a tea cake. I did ask Bob what side he was on. He decided Scotland because Carolyn is from Scotland and Carolyn likes Nutella and shares the Nutella with him when we stay there. All part of his plan to get Nutella on his bread.

We moved to north Africa in Geography. This week it was Sudan including a bit about South Sudan. Did you know that the ancient name of Sudan was Kush?

Bob had art class this week. They are working on Seuss inspired artwork and there will be a prize of a gift bag of art supplies so he is working on his drawing. I received a nice note from the teacher, "You have a special son. It was a pleasure having him in class." It is encouraging getting notes like that.

We have not had math wars this week. Since I have written in the past about math wars, I thought I should report that this week there is math peace. We have found a way that is working right now. He does his lesson and all the problems he can and then sits down with me and together we grade it and review/re-do the problems he got wrong.

Bob read The Rescuers this week. He shared how the book is different from the movie. He did say that he liked the book better. He also told me that he was surprised that the book didn't win any awards as he thought it should have.

I found Miss K on the sofa reading Henry and Mudge. She is still at the stage of reading aloud so it is fun to listen to her read. I do have to find a way to get her to stop skipping the little words.

Miss K finished her Explode the Code 1 1/2 book today. She was quite pleased to finish the book. I like Explode the Code for phonics reinforcement. I think Miss K also does good with workbooks. She can see what needs to be done and do it.

This evening we had to go downtown and we found this glass artwork by Dale Chihuly.

That about wraps up our week. I am not sure what we have planned for the weekend. I have a few projects that I would like to work on but we will see what happens.

Do you have any signs of spring?

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Special Needs Children and their friends

"She is my friend." 

Seeing a photo of a girl her age, Miss K will declare, "She is my friend." Miss K loves people. She remembers people's names. She remembers various details about people's lives, things I don't even think about.

She is high functioning and verbal though we are continuing to work on slowing down so people can understand her. She is aware of what is going on and wants to be part of life.

I was thinking about some of the friends in her life that had loved her and are her good friends.

Faith was in Classical Conversations with her two years ago. I was the mom who made sure I knew where Miss K was because she had a tendency to wander. Faith was the same age and she would invite Miss K to play with them during the lunch break. She included her and also helped to steer the play to something that Miss K could join in. They would play duck, duck goose because Miss K knew how to play that.

Sometimes I had to step in and tell them what she wanted to say or help guide them in an activity that she could understand. Encourage your children to invited the special needs child to join and teach them they might have to adjust what they are doing.

Megan is another friend of Miss K's. Megan went to the same church they played together some. Megan is the one friend that Miss K talks about visiting when we go back there.

She made friends in our travels this summer and she still talks about her friends. She remembers details like where they live, what toys she played with, what we did with our friends.

We have been in the Northwest for a number of months and has made friends here.

Kara is in her Sunday school class and at AWANA with Miss K. Looking at the two girls they appear as different as can be but Kara will sit with Miss K and patiently help her find the passage in the Bible.

Lizzy is in Miss K's ballet class. Miss K and Lizzy have common scars -- both are heart babies though different surgeries. Lizzy loves Miss K and Miss K loves Lizzy. Everyday I hear the question of when can Lizzy come to play. She is counting the days until next Thursday. I think both girls are excited and enjoy the time together.

I am so thankful for each of these girls and the friendship they have shown Miss K. Miss K's live has been blessed to have these friends in her life. I trust that the girls' lives has also been blessed.

You can help you child to invite and include a special needs child. Your child might need to slow down but the joy is worth it.


The names of the girls have been changed.
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