Wednesday, August 28, 2013

One More Reason

We are in our third week of homeschool. So far, not bad.
Definitely some good things happening.
And, as expected, some challenges.
During those challenging times, I'm tempted to run after that yellow bus,
and throw one or more children on with their school supplies.

But then I stop and remember some of the reasons that we've chosen to teach our children at home.  One reason is to enjoy the freedom of setting our own schedule.

We decided that we did not visit our local library enough last year.  This year, Wed. morning is "Library Morning."  The kids grabbed their book bags and library cards earlier today, and off we headed.  They brought home so many books that their arms hurt from carrying their heavy bags.  Book topics ranged from Winnie the Pooh to Ninjas to the Incredible Hulk to Car Restoration.

This is what happened for an hour after we got home...and before the blazing heat chased them back indoors.
I'm thankful for being able to set our own schedule.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Teddy Graham

So, it's history time.  I'm sitting with Charlie and Jenna, reading about symbols of our country...the flag, the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, etc.

Then we read a little about some important men in history...George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, etc.

We move on to landmarks...Plymouth Rock, Niagara Falls, the mighty Mississippi River, and Mt. Rushmore.  As any good teacher would do, :), I continue to inform them that the faces they see are of past presidents.  Charlie pipes up, "I know who they are!!  George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson....and...umm...Teddy Graham!"

Even on a challenging day, I'm so glad the kids are home so I get to share these funny things!

Monday, August 26, 2013

More Children Arriving

Back in February, I posted about needing Prayer Partners for orphans currently in the care of Baobei Foundation in Shanghai, China.
Though I wasn't surprised, every child at that time, and those who arrived for months after, were covered in prayer by one of you!
Some of these children have left to join their forever families.  What a blessing to be a part of that journey.  I just love sending out the email to the prayer partner, telling him/her that "their baby" is in the arms of a forever family!
However, I'm coming back, asking for more prayer partners.
More and more orphans are arriving, needing the life-saving surgeries that are funded by Baobei.
To cover these children in prayer is so simple, yet so important to their lives.
It's very simple.  Commit to praying for one or more of these children daily.
No money is gifts...just a few moments of your day.
You will receive a photo, and any updates provided, of the child.
If you are interested in becoming a prayer partner, or adding another child to your prayer list, please leave a message.
And thank you, again, to those who are already praying.  You are making a difference in their little lives!

Friday, August 16, 2013

She's a 3rd grader!

 This sweet girl is officially a 3rd grader!  Today was her first day of school, and she was excited when I talked to her about it. She will have a new teacher, and be in the life skills classroom for grades 3-5.   It's so fun to see her little personality emerge.  She may not have words or signs, but she communicates with us very well!  We are excited to see how she progresses this year!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Academics, Day One

 So, enough slacking with field trips.  Time to crack open the textbooks that cost me an arm and a leg this year.  Goodness...the older they get, the bigger and more expensive the books!

Today went fairly well as we tried to get back into the swing of the school schedule.
Kids are up at 6:30.  They do chores, eat breakfast, Bible time at 7:30 together, and then lessons begin at theory.  

Jacob is working on 10th grade classes this year which include geometry, biology, world history, world literature, Bible, marching/concert band, German 2, and art.  His favorite subject continues to be history.  He's playing soccer, continuing piano, and hoping to pick up lessons on the trombone and guitar.  His aspirations include becoming an entrepreneur in the areas of the auto, inventions, running fun teen camps/academies for Star Wars, and, of course, conquering the world.  Not sure what he will do in his spare time!
 Amarin will continue his 6th grade year in math, writing, art, astronomy, spelling, geography, grammar, history, and marching/concert band.  He is playing soccer and taking piano lessons, too, and continues to LOVE putting things together, or fixing them.  When he gets older, he really wants to be a Lego engineer, and maybe an electrical engineer...and also fly airplanes.  His favorite activities so far this year are band and soccer. dynamo launching into grade 2 with gusto.  He is very happy with his current skills, and moving forward seems to get in the way of his daily agenda. But, with some encouragement, he is doing great!  He's working on math, spelling, grammar, history, art, zoology, cursive handwriting, logic, and reading.  He will also be playing soccer and piano, and if he has any say in it, beginning the trumpet as soon as possible.  When he grows up, he still wants to be a policeman and a crab engineer (which he says catches crabs and puts them in tanks).

 Jenna, the little mommy of the group, is entering big first grade.  This girl is reading like crazy, and LOVES it.  She wants to fly way too fast thru her language lessons, and she is most excited about her new spelling book.  Math, on the other hand, could go far, far away, and she'd be very, very happy.  But, we'll still plug along with reading, math, spelling, handwriting, history, grammar, art, and zoology.  Jacob will continue teaching her piano, and her ballet/tap classes will start in a few weeks.  When she grows up, she wants to go back to China to take care of the babies, and give them their medicine...a girl after my own heart! 

This is going to be a full year, and I can't wait to see the adventures that come along with it!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Field Trip!

 Today was our first day of school for the 2013-14 school year.
I had it all ready...lessons organized, activities planned, books arranged...
And then Jamie decided to take the day off work.
I insisted that we start school, so we took a field trip to visit the Amish area a few hours from our home.  So I can say we officially started school today!!  :)

Here's the "bus" load of kids on their way.  Of course, we brought reading material, 'cause that's what we do on a field trip.  OK.  I never did.  But it looks very educational, don't you think?

 And this is our favorite bus driver.  He did well navigating us safely, as well as dodging the diving hawks (no joke!) and the shredded tires flying across the highway...guy acted like he didn't even know he was driving on a rim!

 Top of my list...the bulk food store to stock up on coconut oil, oats, and coconut.  

 Love these signs!

 We worked up an appetite, so we enjoyed cheese curds, cookies, and pretzels.  Amarin is gnawing on a meat stick of some kind.

The scenery is so quaint and full of character.
Funny story:  As we got close to the Amish area, I told the kids to watch out the window for the Amish buggies.  So they intently...and then we spotted one!  Amarin couldn't see it.  When I pointed it out, he shared that he had been looking for the VW bug cars, not buggies.  I laughed so hard, I was crying. 

 Here's one of their schools.

 We saw a young teen driving one of these with four huge horses, and a large piece of farm machinery.  I barely feel comfortable with Jacob on a little tractor!

 Enjoying the trampoline in the rain!  Kids all love that!

Jamie decided to end our field trip with a visit to a nearby town that was supposed to have more Amish stores, etc.  Well, it proved to be quite a hoot!
We can now say we have been to the birthplace of the Raggedy Ann and Andy creator, the one and only Hippie Memorial (really?), and driven by the world's largest broom collection.
There was not an Amish buggy in site, except on this sign.

 On the way out of this odd town, we passed John Wayne in the window of this house,

 and a short bus that we could not help but think of for our family.  How fun would that be??

 We were laughing pretty hard as Jacob begged to get us out of this weird town, so we headed was a long drive and a long day, but so much fun.  I think Laura says it best...

Day one of school = success!!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Our Little Drummer Boy

 We are getting "back in the swing of things" with the new school year quickly approaching.  Both Jacob and Amarin are in marching band this year.  They have attended band camp this week, and both came home with sore shoulders.  Yes, they both have chosen the two heaviest instruments with which to march!
 Last night they had their first performance of the new school year, and Amarin's first marching performance ever.   He had the cutest little he wanted to show how excited he was, but wanted to keep it under wraps at the same time.  He looked so sweet marching with his drum.  This year, the band is focusing on Patriotic music in preparation for their Washington D.C. trip the following year.

 Here they both are as they performed last night.
So proud of their hard work and positive attitudes.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Whenever I hear the name "Gus," I think of the fat, little mouse in the Cinderella movie.  He's my favorite character in the whole movie!
We're thinking we may have a "Gus" in our family soon, and, no, it's not a mouse!
It's a dog!
Actually, Laura is getting a new service dog next month.  She got one way back in 2010, but he wasn't able to stay with her for various reasons.  So, we're trying again.  This dog will be trained to detect seizures, retrieve objects for her, and be tethered to her so she can have a little more independence, while being safe.
We will not know who her dog is for a couple more weeks, but we're thinking no matter who the dog is, his/her name should be "Gus," even if we have to change it.
Laura's nonverbal, but listen to this!  She might be able to call the dog herself!



Big families = Big Helpers!