Friday, March 22, 2013

"An unused life is an early death."

“An unused life is an early death. “
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

So, it has been about a month since I posted anything at all on the blog, and life has been pretty busy.  SC has switched to "beginner 1" gymnastics from the preschool level, which is in the evening instead of the mornings.  She is the youngest in the class, which was great in the beginning, but she has made a friend and they frequently get in trouble for being silly.  SC likes to do "cannon balls" into the foam pit instead of whatever cartwheel/round-off move she is supposed to be doing, or will purposely flop onto the ground instead of landing a move in the proper manner.  It has been difficult.  

SC has also started soccer and has practice on another evening.  They have played two games, and though they don't keep score, her team has lost pretty bad each time.  In fact, the first game they lost 20-0.  After talking with some parents from the other team, we discovered that most of those girls had "been together for 3 seasons" already.  We were shocked, as all the girls on our team are only four, and this is the under-5 league.  Our coach did some digging and found out that apparently the league combined the under-5 and under-6 teams because there were not enough, and by luck of the draw, we got put in with the older group.  So, it will be an interesting season, but hopefully playing against the older girls will help our girls figure things out quickly and benefit them in the long run.

 AC has been traveling still, and has spent most of the weekends this past month in Los Angeles.  The one weekend he was home he worked overnight on a project on Saturday, and then we had to travel to Kansas Sunday afternoon to attend his grandfather's funeral.  Grandpa T was 90 years old, a farmer and carpenter, and led an amazing life.  His beautiful wife is still living, and though it was a sad time, it was also a great time of love and family.

As for homeschool, I have discovered we are fairly unstructured and fit well into the "unschooling" category.  We are definitely SC-led, and as things pop up that interest to her, we follow that path.  However, we do try to stick with working on general math, handwriting and phonics skills daily.  

We very recently abandoned Math-U-See because SC was not interested in any way in using the manipulative blocks, and simply wanted to do the sheets.  She has been playing a few math games on the iPad and her addition and subtraction skills have really taken off.  After reading some reviews, we have opted to start Singapore Primary Mathematics Level 1 to see if it is more her style.  I think we will be able to complete all of Level 1A and 1B before next fall, starting level 2 for her official "kindergarten" year.  We are also going to try out Life of Fred, as I have heard great things about it as well, though I am hoping I can check it out in person when I go to the Homeschool Book Fair this May.

We are still slowly working our way through the BOB Books collection 1, though I am pretty sure SC can read more than we have completed.  However, we let her read these at bedtime, and frequently bedtime is one of our most difficult times of day, and SC ends up going to bed without any reward books, including getting to read to us.  However, we work on Explode the Code phonics and A Reason for Spelling during the day.  Explode the Code requires a lot of writing, so we are moving slowly through it.  However, SC's handwriting is getting very readable.  She can correctly write all of her letters, both upper and lower cases, with only a few occasional "oops" (like switching lower-case b and d).

For both science and history, as mentioned above, we have taken a more "unschooling" approach.  I keep reminding myself that SC is not yet even 5 years old, so it is okay that we are still only on week 3 of History Odyssey, but we have had tons of opportunities to talk about more "social studies" type lessons, as well as learning about other cultures as AC travels.  We have also gone to see mummies, which was awesome, and joined the new Perot Museum, which is also awesome.  Though I really like the Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy, it was just too much for SC at this age.  We never even made it to the first lab.  She definitely understands many of the concepts, but all the activities are really geared toward a child that is already writing and creating written work on their own, even if simple.

SC's favorite part of homeschool (aside from math) has become reading the Bible.  We have been using Bible Study Guide for All Ages, and I found an awesome coloring book that has multiple scenes of almost every story in the Bible, which she colors on her own as I am actually reading.  It has really helped her to focus.  

This past week, of course, we have been talking a lot about Jesus, Easter, how sad His death is, but how glorious it is that His death paid the price of our salvation.  We sent our sponsored child, Oneydi, a letter specifically about Easter this week (which I realize will probably not arrive until after Easter).  We wrote about who Jesus was, and what Easter means for us as sinners.  We also talked about some of the things we do traditionally for celebrating Easter, like decorating eggs, and the significance of that.  I found these awesome "paint with water" books (similar to these, but Easter themed) that I took apart and sent along.  All that is required is a brush/q-tip and water  -- the paint is included on the paper.  SC actually uses these all the time.  They satisfy her need to paint almost daily, but with much less mess than traditional watercolors or acrylic paints.  We also sent Easter stickers, and I took apart The Very First Easter from the Beginner's Bible series (my first attempt at sending a book).  Finally, we sent an Easter card to Oneydi, as well as one to her family.

So, we are going to keep plugging along in our chaos, enjoying each other, spending some time doing structured school, spending quite a bit of time learning in life, and just living.  We are all traveling to Los Angeles to visit family and have the first real vacation in probably two years (though AC is going to be working Saturday night still) over Easter weekend.  SC is very excited to go to the beach, go to Disneyland, and see our family.  AC and I will be traveling to London together for a work trip of his, and I am super excited to be spending some time alone in this amazing city, seeing the sights, while AC works, and then getting to spend the evenings with him.  And, we shall see what else God sends our way this year.

Though this is more of a monthly wrap-up, check out how some other blogger's weeks have gone here:

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