Sunday, April 22, 2012

Homeschool Weeks 29-31

As I was going back to see what we had all covered in school the last two weeks, I realized I had forgotten about the lone week before spring break.   Thus the three week update rather than the two.

Our Bible lessons covered Hezekiah, Josiah, Jeremiah, the fall of Judah, Daniel and the King's food, Nebuchadnezzar, the fiery furnace, the handwriting on the wall, Daniel in the lion's den, and Cyrus King of Persia.  In our ancient history lessons we looked at the corresponding decline of Assyria, the rise of the Babylonian Empire, and then the fall of Babylon and the rise of the Persian Empire.  When  reading about the Babylonian Empire we studied the Hanging Gardens (one of the seven ancient wonders of the world) and the Ishtar Gate.  Once again the kids (and I!) enjoyed seeing how the rise and fall of various empires fit into the Biblical account of the history of Israel, including God's use of Cyrus for his own purposes (Isaiah 45).    As always, we completed map work as we studied each of the empires to orient ourselves as to where all these events were taking place.

We are working on memorizing Isaiah 40:21-31.  So far, we have Isaiah 40:21-28 down pretty well.   The most recent verses are always a little shaky.  We always use our memory work as handwriting practice so that helps reinforce the verse along with recitation.

Last week we started a new read-aloud--Aesop's Fables for Children.   Aesop was a Greek slave who died in 565 BC.   This seems to tie in well with our study of ancient Greece. The book has over one hundred fables (none of them very lengthy) and so we are working through several of them a day.  The kids will each choose a favorite and illustrate the fable on a poster along with the moral or teaching of the fable.

We also started a new science book called Archimedes and the Door of Science.   Archimedes was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer who got so involved in what he was doing he had to have his servants remind him to eat and bathe!  I don't have any specific lessons or experiments to go along with our readings at this time, so we just have been reading slowly and discussing what Archimedes studied, invented, learned, etc. 

Very little time has been spent on art and our Handel study in music.  Track practice and meets have taken up the time we usually spend on those so we do have some catch up to do.  Those stinkin' sports--always interfering with the fine arts.  Good thing we have kept up with violin, cello, and piano!

Seth, as mentioned on a previous post, has completed his curriculum from My Father's World.  The week before spring break we went a little further with phonics (bossy "e", bossy "r", two vowels go walking, blends, etc) and introduced basic addition math facts.    The last two weeks, and hopefully, for the rest of the school year, we are taking a book (one that he can read) and with helps, worksheets and/or lapbooks, from are using it as launching pad to study various topics in language arts, science, math, Bible etc.   I am trying to choose books that cover topics we have not really covered yet this year.  The first book Seth did was A Fish Out of Water and one of the things we studied was nutrition and the basic food groups.  Eating right is not only important for fish like Otto, but also for us.  The boy in the story called 911, so we talked about the role of community helpers and discussed how to call 911 including having Seth learn our address and phone number.  For math we learned a little more about using tally marks and how many are in a dozen.   I think this format must be fairly similar to the Five in a Row curriculum.  This past week I forgot to put a book on hold at the library so we just did a kindergarten dinosaur unit that I found on the internet which ended up being too easy for him so we used quite a bit of our "school time" working on reading.   I am better prepared for the next three weeks, though!

Here are a few other updates of the past few weeks:

Track:  We had a meet last Saturday in Hudsonville and another last night in Newaygo.   A good work ethic, consistent attendance at practice, and listening and following through with instruction are all issues we continue to battle with the athletes.    Athletes who are working hard, attending practices, and listening to instruction continue to improve and have new personal records so that is encouraging. 

Caleb update:  Doesn't have too much going on other than school and track.  He has been running the 4 x 800, 800m, and 1600m in various meets.  His 800m time continues to improve which gives him confidence in his coach's workouts.    Check out what he ran at the meet last night:

Yep, the 300m hurdles.  As you can see, the form needs a little work:)
He is planning to audition for the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony in May so is working on a solo piece as well as all the scales.  He has State Orchestra Festival coming up this week with the NorthPointe HS Orchestra.

Nicolas update:  Nicolas continues with soccer practice on Tuesday nights and games on Saturdays.  Last Saturday he earned a Division I rating for his cello solo at the Middle School Solo/Ensemble Festival.  He was pretty excited about that.  This coming Tuesday night he has his Homeschool Orchestra concert and then he is done with that for the year.  We will be free on Wednesday mornings!  Saturday morning he participated in the FRC Boys and Girls Club Derby Car Races.  He put his Whittlin' Jack knife to good use making his derby car and was even pretty successful!  When he is not doing school work or any of the above he is bugging the rest of us to play Rook.

First in age division and second fastest overall!

Anna, Lydia, and Seth update:  They are doing a great job as assistant track coaches and have been  troopers at less than stellar conditions at track practice and meets.   Anna and Lydia are also working on teaching Seth how to play Wizard (card game with trump, bidding, etc) which has been very interesting. 

Russell update:  Russ took his last Greek test of the school year this week.  He also continues to pick away at his counseling manual, will begin writing a few sermons (for two different classes), and will finish up reading the next few weeks.

I enjoyed a night of fellowship with the seminary wives at Rebecca VanDoodewaard's home last Tuesday.   I was able to visit with some women that I really had not talked with before including two women from South Korea.    This week Tuesday evening the seminary wives met for the last MWI meeting of the school year.   Dr. Bilkes gave a talk on Charles and Susannah Spurgeon and the lessons we can learn from their ministry marriage.  

All of us enjoyed an evening with the Michigan Bleeker's last Friday night.   They celebrated March and April birthdays which included Nicolas.  They gave him the first set of Jonathan Park audio CDs which we have all enjoyed in the van as we travel to track meets, homeschool building, etc.   Caleb is not with us most of the time when we listen to them, so we will have to listen to them again when we travel to Iowa this summer.   We also managed to sneak in a trip to the Grand Rapids Public Museum.  This would be a great field trip for all those Marsville 5th graders!

Viewing the surface of Mars as if you were on a glider (like it says:)

An experiment on how your face and body change before and after a trip to outer space.

I don't know, I don't see too much difference; she looks cute in both

Caleb and Nicolas experiencing weightlessness

Practicing performing tasks while rotating

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