Friday, March 6, 2015

Orlando/Ligonier National Conference

Except for our trip out to Boise to interview at Cloverdale URC, Russ and I had not taken a trip together for several years.   Since the church pays for one conference or education trip for Russ each year, we decided to take advantage of still having Caleb home and make a trip together this year.  The topics and line-up of speakers at the Ligonier National Conference and the connections to awesome accommodations and fellowship in Orlando made the decision easy.  The hardest part was leaving the kids behind!  For three of the days someone from the church picked the younger three kids up around 9:00 and dropped them back off around 3:00.  The boys came home around 4:00 and then they were on their own until the next morning.  Nicolas stayed home from school on Friday with the kids. Nicolas had an BPYO concert on Saturday afternoon, so we left Orlando early Saturday morning and were back in Boise by 12:30.   It was a bummer to miss the last few talks, but I wouldn't have missed the concert for the world.  They sounded great...and it was our turn to take tickets.  

We arrived in Orlando early (for the conference) and enjoyed a day at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near the Kennedy Space Center.  Of course, even as we enjoyed a break from day to day parenting, we were wishing our kids were with us to see all the fascinating birds, to count the gators, and pick shells off the beach.  

These little guys are so ugly they're cute...

 Osprey making a nest...

Marilyn worked hard to get a picture of this feral pig...

Picnic lunch at the Visitor Center...

The conference theme this year was "After Darkness, Light."  It was a call to the church to continue to be light in a dark and increasing secular world.   The speakers included:  Alistair Begg, Rosaria Butterfield, Tim Challies, Kevin DeYoung, Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey, Peter Jones, Steven Lawson, Russell Moore, Stephen Nichols, R.C. Sproul Jr., and R.C. Sproul.  I think you can still watch the entire conference on-line here.

Mom and Dad with the couples they met on the Alaskan cruise...

One of the highlights of the trip for me was the concert on Wednesday night at St. Andrews chapel.  R.C. Sproul wrote hymns that were orchestrated by Jeff Lippencott.  The combination of beautiful music and meaningful lyrics made for an extremely worshipful experience.   You can order yourself a copy of the music here.  I bought four to give as gifts and all recipients have come back to tell me how much they appreciate the music.

St. Andrew's--R.C. Sproul's church

We wanted to be sure to say hello to Kevin DeYoung while we were at the conference, but it was hard to find him.  We finally just decided to get in his book signing line one night.  I had his book Taking God at His Word along to read on the plane so I just grabbed that to make our presence in the line legit.  Unfortunately, I had the dust jacket on wrong so he signed the book on the back cover...upside down.   It is a good thing we were more interested in just seeing him and saying hi than having a book signed!

All in all, the trip was a wonderful a time of spiritual refreshment and renewal. The weather didn't really cooperate since it was only in the 50s most days (and 70s both the day we arrived and the day we left!), but that was okay since we were inside most of the time anyway.  I loved being able to see Mom and Dad and meet the others that stayed in the house.   I didn't even worry too much about the kids!  (They did great, by the way.)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Homeschool Weeks 14-22

Here are the events and people we learned about the last 9 weeks:

Ethiopia and Italy and Liberia--Pretended we were part of a new country and designed our own flag (like the Liberians). We also cooked an Ethiopian meal.  The meal was Doro Wat (chicken dish) served on Injera (flat bread) with Iab (yogurt/cottage cheese mixture to eat with the DoroWat).

Independence of Egypt

Sino-Japanese war in Korea

Boxer Rebellion in China-occured toward the end of Hudson Taylor's life.  We finished our read-aloud on his life as a missionary to China.

Last Emperor of China

Indochina (Vietnam)

Last couple czars of Russia

Persia (Iran)

Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria/Balkan Wars--made Martenitsi which are little bracelets or dolls made from red/white yarn and are given as gifts in Bulgaria on March 1st to symbolize the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

India and Ghandi

Japan and China after WW I, Rise of Chiang Kai-shek, and MaoTseTung and the Long March.

South America
Brazil becomes a Republic--made a "cootie-catcher" with animals from the Pantanal

Russian Revolution during WWI, Rise of Stalin

The Easter Uprising in Ireland

Italy and Mussolini--Made a Fasces

United States
Spanish-American War--Learned what "Yellow Journalism" was all about.

Westward Expansion

Factories, Stocks, and Andrew Carnegie:  Played an investing game

Mexican Revolution--had some fun with cryptography because the Germans sent cryptographed messages to Mexico to encourage them to start a war with the US to try to prevent the US from entering WW I.

WW I--Made a timeline of the Spanish Flu epidemic. The girls created mini-posters on the Lusitania and Trench Warfare while Seth completed lapbook booklets on the book Casey Over There (Yes, we listened to the song "Over There" and had it in our heads for days!). We baked Anzac cookies which were cookies that the mothers of the Australia/New Zealand Army Corp made for their sons during WWI and gave them to a Vietnam veteran in our church. 

End of WW I--made our own passports, read the poem "Flanders Fields", studied the Treaty of Versailles, and the Fourteen Points.  We tried to apply the Fourteen Points as house rules and found that they may have been a little idealistic. 

Roaring twenties--Baked Baby Ruth bars from our Cooking through the US cookbook.

Kids LOVE looking through this book to find pictures and articles about the people and events we are learning about.  I think we have had this book for about as long as we have been married.  Glad it is getting some use!

States:  Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, New Mexico (made Navajo Fry Bread), Arizona

Presidents:  Cleveland, McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Harding

Science:  Sounds, simple machines and levers, helpful machines--studied airplanes and the Wright brothers in more detail including making our own paper airplanes with modifications to understand some of the principles of flight, electrical energy and electrical circuits.
Made our own quiz board circuit with questions about the Roaring 20s that we could test Dad, Nicolas, and Caleb with.  

Books:  Just a few books the kids read that I am not sure made the list on the side of the blog:  Caddie Woodlawn, On the Banks of Plum Creek, Stone Fox (I failed to warn Seth about the ending--I was afraid he would never read a book I suggested again), In Grandma's Attic

Music:  Mostly the history of Jazz--the kids watched a DVD entitled Sousa to Satchmo, and are currently learning of the life and music of George Gershwin

Read Aloud:  Tales of Persia which is missionary stories in Iran from the early to mid 1900's and Sergeant York and the Great War about the most decorated WW I veteran, Alvin C. York.  We also watched the 1941 film version of his life, Sergeant York.

The girls went from filling out outlines in the Story of the World book, to writing paragraphs from an outline which has been great for their writing skills.  We do continue to plug away at our Institutes for Excellence in Writing program and are currently doing a unit on how to write an essay from more than one source.  

Anna is getting extra practice as she writes a research essay/paper on the differences between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois.

We had one field trip to the Boise River Watershed.  They have great interactive displays and the classes were very informative.  The girls learned about how pollution affects our water supply and Seth learned about the fish in the Boise River, specifically the life cycle of a salmon.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Projects Finished

After two years of hanging on to the yarn and moving it across the country, I finally finished Seth's afghan!  

Zoe thinks it is her blanket
The girls also put in their order for crocheted purses quite awhile ago, so I am glad to have those done also. 

I wasn't completely happy with Lydia's purse, so after this picture was taken I did make a larger red circle and moved that and the sock monkey button over to the left.

Caleb has also been busy with projects.  He always seems to have something to work on when he has a day off from school.  I think he finds it a relaxing  break from  calculus problems.

Built the shelves, painted them, hung, and decorated them...

Went to Hobby Lobby and bought the frames, designed the Family logo, arranged, and hung the pictures.

Built the "canvas" from left over wood and pallets, drew the continents free hand, painted, and hung.  What a great addition to our home school area!