We met with the home school group Friday for our first study of the fall. We are doing a 7 week geography study on the continents. This week was North America. The group is broken down into two age groups, K-3 and 4-up. Moms take turns teaching and helping. I will be teaching the Africa study for Sam’s group in a few weeks.
Cora, Eli, and I played with the other little ones and visited with the moms. It is such a great encouragement to meet with these other families. Yesterday there were over 60 people there counting moms and babies, which is a big jump from last year. Also coming up this fall is a field trip to caves, fall cook-out, and moms’ night out.
We also had show and tell for any of the kids who wanted to bring something. Of course, Sam always has lots to tell. He brought a rock and a little boat he made of reeds like a Native American toy. He got up in front of all those people, said “Hello my name is Sam…” He spoke loud and clear and didn’t seem a bit nervous. I was so proud of him. Maybe God is planning for him to be a preacher…or politician!
Dandy went to the Farm Fair last week. Farm Fair is a day sponsored by local agriculture groups when all county fourth graders come and rotate through different stations to learn how agriculture affects them. Some of the other stations were on goats, dairy, beekeeping, poultry, 4-wheeler safety, 4-H, the food pyramid, and more.
(The boy in the white shirt was a preschool student of mine. I got to see 4 of my former students.)
Sam and I taught the kids a bit about the hard work of raising beef cattle, beef products they eat, and byproducts of beef. And of course, they got to pet and brush Dandy. Many fed him grain also, and I know he has never eaten that much in one day! Dandy was so good, but Sam was worried about us talking about his demise right in front of him:)
I researched on the internet to find out some beef byproducts and was surprised to learn what some of them are. They include pet food, candles, make-up, soap, shave cream, nail files, band aides, butter, gum, mayo, marshmallows, cellophane, crayons, glue, paint, paint brushes, shoes, footballs/basketballs/baseballs, medicines, and more. Some of the kids were confused on this, but I explained to them that each of these items has some small part that comes for a cow. A few said they would never brush their teeth again, but they were still planning to eat hamburger!
Sam, Cora, and I went star gazing tonight. We laid out in the back yard with blankies and popcorn and watched the night sky. It was so fun to hear their comments about the sky and other random things. Sam thinks being an astronaut would be neat, but he wants to be an archeologist when he grows up. Cora thinks the coyotes could smell our popcorn and might come get us. Sweet memories!
Each morning we say the Pledge of Allegiance, do the calendar, and the weather. Eli won't miss standing with us as we do the pledge. We also do the popsicle sticks at this time. It has become one of my favorite parts of the school day because all the kids love it and we get to do it together, one of my favorite blessings of home schooling.
We have a bunch of popsicle sticks in a cup, and each one has a different concept written on it. The kids take turns pulling a stick and answering questions. Its neat to vary the questions for each of their age levels. For example, one stick says "birthday" so Sam has to say month, day and year, Cora just the month and day, and Eli says how old he is and we're working on holding up 2 fingers. We have sticks for counting, address, months of the year, Bible verses, sight words, and more. Cora and Eli are learning to sit for their turn, and they learn a lot from listening to Sam. Plus Sam gets an opportunity to help them when they need it.
And please don't tell my kids about Labor Day...they have no idea they were supposed to have the day off. Here they are cuddling/wresting, but this is NOT during school time!
Cora got a big girl bike at a yard sale yesterday...for $7!!!!!! She was so excited that she was almost glowing.
The kids found a few other "new" toys, and I got a much needed $5 bookshelf (that for some reason caused me to rearrange the whole living room even though the shelf went in the bedroom).
We had a fun time treasure hunting at yard sales, but they always remind me of how temporary our material things are. We saw tons of vases, jewelry, shoes, clothes, and much more that at one time people had to have. Now its a quarter at a yard sale. I'm even making a pile at our house right now for our approaching yard sale (and Sam is cleaning out some toys!).
Lord, help us remember those things in our lives with true, lasting value: You, our families, and our time. Amen
Dandy, our bottle calf, is a good sport! He lets all the kids lead him around with the halter.
We have been feeding Dandy twice a day since mid-June. Last week we weaned him down to just an evening bottle. While I miss our morning visits, it sure is easier to stay on track with school work without that disruption.
Later this month, we will take Dandy to "Farm Fair". Its a special day for local 4th graders to come to the fair grounds and learn about many different aspects of farming. The kids will rotate through stations learning about things like corn, soybeans, poultry, and horses. We will teach them a little about cattle, with Dandy being our prop!
Every home school is different, and that is one of the fun things about it. At our house, no 2 days look alike either. This school year has been lots of fun so far. Sam has changed so much over the summer! Here are some of our favorites this year.
Sam is learning phonics, and doing well. We are still catching up to where he was last spring, wish we had stayed with it a little over the summer. He is still perfecting the short vowels before we move on to long vowels. Last week I cut out a dozen magazine pictures and wrote short sentences he could read to go with each one. He had to match them up. Today we played a simple version of scrabble, and Sam did well. While we played that Cora laid out the letters of her name.
Cora is learning to spell and write her name and she’s also learning shapes. Today we played the flyswatter game, where she had to smack the shape Sam called out. Good practice for Sam too:) When Cora writes her name, she writes it in reverse. Maybe because she’s left handed? I know she will correct it in time, right now its pretty cute!
We’ve been reading the story of Jonah this week, and today we acted it out, which the kids loved. We also made accordion books to illustrate the story.
For writing practice, we send lots of thank you notes or cards. This is more motivating to Sam than just writing letters for the sake of writing.
We’ve been learning a hymn each week, yes our church sings the good old hymns. Each one contains such biblical truths that we talk about, and I hope by at least knowing the chorus the kids will feel more a part of the singing at church (and stay out of trouble). This week is “I’ve Got a Mansion Just Over the Hilltop”. We hum it or sing it as we wash hands, set the table, buckle seat belts, etc. Yesterday Sam drew a mansion on bright yellow paper and Cora added streets of gold, then we hung it up in their room.
We borrowed a book with step by step instructions on drawing animals, and Sam really got into that. So far, he has shown my artistic ability (none!), and usually he’d try to draw something then give up when his didn’t resemble anything. With this book, he was so proud of his work…maybe there’s hope!
Our science book has us learning about the 5 senses. First was touch. We did a few fun things the kids have asked to do again. We taped our thumb to our pointer finger then tried to do things like pick up money off the floor, open a door, zip/button pants, eat with a fork. Cora got so tickled at not being able to do anything without her thumb. After that we each filled a paper sack with 5 items from around the house and yard. Then we took turns feeling in each others bags and guessing what we felt. Sam was impressed how his fingers could identify things. Of course, Eli's bag included a tractor, baler, combine, hay bale, and 4-wheeler.
Our days are full, and we don’t usually get everything done. But there’s always tomorrow. We are blessed to be doing this for now.