Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weeks 19 and 20

This week and last week we studied the early Greek civilizations, namely, the Minoans and the Mycenaeans.  We read the stories of Theseus and the Minotaur, the Trojan War, and many other stories of Greek mythology from D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths.  The girls also enjoyed the book The Trojan Horse:  How the Greeks Won the War.  We are actually doing two read aloud books right now, The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) and The Children's Homer.   The Rick Riordan website has a few different teacher guides/literature units for The Lightning Thief and the girls are working through parts of a couple of them.  They are perfect for Anna, but may be a little advanced for Lydia.  She is a trooper and doing great, though!   Nicolas has been reading Black Ships Before Troy and completing a study guide that Renee loaned us from Veritas Press.  He also is working through Odysseus which is retelling of the story of the Odyssey.  We watched portions of a video on the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete.   Watching how they put the pieces of a civilization together through archeological finds was fascinating.  We will take about a ten week break from Greek civilization to look at civilizations in other parts of the world and then return to study the Golden Age of Greece.

In Bible we read the book of Ruth and the first several chapters of  I Samuel (through Saul becoming king and Samuel's speech).    We continued learning about Psalm 23 from the book I mentioned on an earlier blog, and I think everyone has it memorized now.  Seth even can say quite a bit of it from memory just from listening to us recite!

Since we hit week 20, I thought we should spend time reviewing our 20 Greek root words.   These are a little harder for Lydia to remember so we had fun thinking of creative ways to review them this week.  We began Day Five in science--birds and fish.  The first week we learned about fish, labeling diagrams of both the internal and external anatomy of a fish and discussing the function of everything we labelled.   I found a marine food web activity on-line that the girls also enjoyed.  I bookmarked the site, but my computer crashed AGAIN and I lost all that information so I can't share that with you.  This past week, we did experiments that related to birds--the importance of lift and balance for flight, etc. 

We listened to more of Bach these last two weeks as we completed our art lessons.  Our focus in art was on the artist Fra Angelico and included a lesson on how to draw clothing.  The kids drew two Biblical pictures--one of their choice from the Gospels and then they drew Fra Angelico's  The Annunciation concentrating on using three main colors, just different shades.  Nicolas is still working on his so maybe I can get a few pictures for the next blog.  

Seth had a "K" week and a "Z" week.   For "K" week we learned how joeys are kept safe in the pocket of the mommy kangaroos and memorized the words, "I am safe in God."  We studied why zebras have stripes for "Z" week, learning the words "I can't hide anything from God."  We enjoyed the following books: 

K week:   The Lam-a-roo by Diana Kimpton, Will You Take Care of Me? by Margaret Park Bridges, I Love it When You Smile by Sam McBratney, Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett (a huge favorite!) , A Kangaroo Joey Grows Up by Joan Hewett, The Kangaroo by Diana Noonan, and Jumping Kangaroos by Michelle Levine.

Z week:  On Beyond Zebra by Dr. Seuss, Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire, If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss, Zebras by Jill Anderson, and Zebras by Catherine Ipcizade. Seth read My Trip To The Zoo by Mercer Mayer to me!

A zebra in the savannah for "Z" week.

Found these at the food pantry and thought they would make a great snack...after we played/learned with them first:)

Russ officially began his spring semester of classes this week.  He indicated that it would be a difficult but enjoyable semester.  His practice preaching is scheduled in February and is always more challenging in the Spring as he is assigned a text rather than choosing his own.  Russ spoke at Mel Trotter a few weekends ago, filling in for someone who had a conflict.  Tomorrow he preaches at the church in Dorr (he has been there before).   He also added a new student to tutor at NorthPointe starting next week.

The seminary had a few new international families arrive for the start of the new semester.  The families are from Kazakhstan, Malawi, and England, with another coming from India at a later date.  Russ and I have been asked to be a mentor family for David and Sarah Woollin from England.  David will be working for RHB while he takes classes for his MDiv.  They are from James Herriot's Yorkshire and have three lovely children, Benjamin (8), Samuel(6), and Amy(3). They arrived last week Friday night and we invited them for a meal on Saturday evening.  Since the mentor thing came up at the last minute and we were not able to even connect/invite until Saturday late morning, we decided to just order Chinese.  Two observations about the meal:  One, I am glad a remembered to put knives out at the last minute since they all (even the 3 year old!) eat with a knife in the right hand and a fork in the left (Lydia did say that one of the boys liked to pick up his lo mien noodles with his fingers, so I felt a little be better about the whole manners things), and, two, I felt very inadequate serving tea to an Englishman.  I picked Sarah up for our Ministry Wives gathering on Tuesday night and they seem to be adjusting well.   Russ is over at their home as I write this helping with a few "handyman" chores.   To round out his "handyman" work we are joining Russ at Dave and Wendy Van Brugge's home later this afternoon so Russ can help put up trim.  Our neighbor across the street loaned Russ a compound miter saw for the job.  We plan to stay and eat supper with them and let the kids play a little bit.

Caleb had a busy week completing a paper and presentation on Martin Luther.  I felt so bad for him, as he worked so hard on his paper, had it completed, and then lost it all when the computer crashed.  His teacher graciously gave him an extension so he could rewrite and hand it a few days late.   He is working hard on his pieces for solo/ensemble next weekend and will have several after school practices next week.

Weather has been cold and warm.  On cooler days we enjoyed ice skating on Brian's rink (because the ice was actually frozen), and on warmer days enjoyed just being outside.  We just received 2-3 inches of new snow last night and this morning, so the kids will enjoy being in snow again.  The snow has not stayed long enough for us to get to a sledding hill this winter.  The Boys and Girls Club at FRC keeps postponing their sledding outing because there is not enough snow by the time the date rolls around.   Those that lead B/G Club have done a great job finding crafts and activities to fill the time, though.

Nicolas made this project at B&G Club Wednesday night.

For the most part we have been pretty healthy here.  Seth had a few days/nights of a dry hacky cough and others have also had runny noses, but nothing we need to see a Dr. for so we are very thankful.   We continue to enjoy our Monday nights at BSF and our weekly visits to the YMCA.   Last night we had nothing going on so enjoyed a cozy night by the fire for family movie night.  We rented a good family movie, Dolphin Tale, with another freebie from Red Box.  Sawyer, one of the main characters in the movie reminded me a lot of Nicolas with his love for animals, and the scene with his mom and a sea slug was totally like Nicolas and me.

Next week we look forward to a visit from Grandpa and Grandma B! 

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