Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Antarctica and the Week Update

Last Friday we finished up our last unit--Antarctica.  We squished two weeks into one week so that we could be done before we went to Iowa on the 18th.  We studied and did experiments about ice shelves, glaciers, and icebergs.  We discussed again the differences between the North and South poles.  We learned about krill and what the Antarctic food chain looks like.  One of my favorite days was when we watched a DVD about Shackleton and then using latitude and longitude points plotted his intended journey and then his actual journey.  This was also helpful in learning all the major geography points like the Weddell and Ross Seas and Elephant and South Georgia Islands.   Since Antarctica doesn't have an official flag, the kids had fun designing their own using the information they had learned about Antarctica.  Needless to say we did not have an Antarctic meal as I wasn't sure how to find seal blubber. 

Some books we enjoyed:  Emperor Penguins by Elaine Landau; March of the Penguins, a book based on the movie; Explore Antarctica; How to Survive in Antarctica by Lucy Jane Bledsoe; Antarctica:  Journeys to the South Pole by Walter Dean Myers; and Frozen Secrets:  Antarctica Revealed by Sally Walker.  We also watched the Feature Films for Families movie Scamper and are still working through Mr. Popper's Penguins as a read-aloud.

The flags

Anna's Perky Penguin project

Yesterday the three oldest kids took their post test on countries and continents.  They just had maps in front of them and had to fill them in to the best of their ability.  I was surprised how well they did (especially Anna) without having the names of the countries in front of them.   Anyway, this marks the end of the school year for us.  We will continue with math through the summer, initiate a fun typing/keyboarding program, and Caleb will finish a literature guide that he didn't quite complete.   Now I it is my turn to study as I have a 20 credit home-study course I need to finish (start?) to renew my Iowa PT license by the end of July. 

Russ has been busy working on the front landscaping.  Wow, what a difference!  He isn't quite finished and may not finish until after our trip to Iowa.  I will  be sure to post before and after pictures. 

Helping dad

Taking a break

We enjoyed our visit to Antoine and Nicolene Therone last week Thursday.  She served an authentic South African dish which was absolutely delicious.  They have three girls; the oldest is five.  They speak Afrikaans at home as that is their first language, and although they have done absolutely no formal teaching of English with the girls, they speak and understand English almost flawlessly just from picking it up from neighbor friends.   It made me think of Lynn and Cory's kids being able to pick up Creole just from having the orphanage kids speak it all the time.   Nicolene is also fluent in Dutch.

We ended up not going to the Moerdyk's for Sunday dinner.  They called late Saturday night that he was heading to the ER due to heart symptoms.  They called early Sunday morning that he had been admitted for the evening and was having stress tests that morning.  I have not had a chance to call them to see how he turned out.  I will put that on my "to do" list this morning...

Last night we hosted the Van Brugges and Ian Macleod.  What a crazy day it was!  The furnace/AC guy finally came Friday, but went home sick after dismantling everything.  We were unable to run our furnace over the weekend and as the weather turned quite cold, so did the house!  We woke up yesterday morning and it was only 58 degrees  in the house.   The plumber came to move some pipes so I did not have water most of the morning.  Then the kids had piano and violin lessons, so I didn't really start much preparation for our guests including cleaning, making salads, and even showering (I was able to make two triple-berry pies) until 3:30 that afternoon.   My house wasn't what I wanted it to be before I have guests, but you know, we had a wonderful time anyway.  I think I see a lesson here...

Today will be another marathon as we get ready to go to Iowa for a couple of weeks.  We plan to stop at Russ' parents on Wed/Thurs night.  I think we will make a quick jaunt to Des Moines while in Glidden to see our niece Brooke run at the state track meet.  We plan to be at my parents sometime on Friday and will go to the Tulip Festival on Friday or Saturday.  Russ then plans to use the next week to shingle the Steggerda's home and prepare a talk for the OCCS 8th Grade Graduation.  We will relax over Memorial Day weekend and plan to overlap at least a day with the Grimms who hope to return from Haiti on the 31st.   The kids have a piano recital back in GR on June 4 so hope to be back in time for that.   Please pray for safe travel!

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