Thursday, December 20, 2012

End of the Semester Post and Driver's Ed

Russ finished up the 1st semester of his third year last Saturday.  Yes, that should have been Friday, but with all the papers, assignments, reading, and exams that he had to complete, believe me, getting it all done by Saturday was still quite a feat.  I think he would agree that this was a very difficult semester, and the next semester also looks to be quite busy.  He opted out of practice preaching next semester so that will give him an additional two hours of work time two days a week.  This will also be helpful when track season starts.  He will not be taking  any classes during the January term, but will hopefully get a head start on reading and do some work for Dr. Murray.  He also has some preaching lined up in January so he will still be pretty busy.  I think he also agreed to help Northpointe during their J-term week right after Christmas break.  During that week kids can take a week of fun classes.  Caleb is signed up for a photography class and a class entitled "Math in Numb3rs (TV show)" and a solo/ensemble class to help prep for solo/ensemble which is one of the first weekends in February.  Anyway, they ask Juniors to take an ACT prep class and Russ agreed to do the math portion of that. 

The big news here is that Caleb finally got his driving permit!  Wading through the graded driving program in Michigan has been quite an experience, not to mention extremely expensive.  There is no state funding for driver's ed programs so everyone takes it through a private driving school.  Caleb went through Main Street Driving and really appreciated his instructor.  I went on a parent drive this afternoon with Caleb and his instructor and was impressed with his interaction with Caleb (nothing like "Bear":)  Here is just a taste of the complicated system that is set up in Michigan (We were wishing for the simplicity of Iowa):

     *Begin driver's ed classes when you are at least 14 and 9 months.

     *Segment 1 involves at least 3 weeks of class meeting 4 days a week for 2 hours each time + 6 additional hours of driving.

     *Complete above class requirements including a written test and you are able to get your permit.

     *Now you are able to begin logging driving hours.  You need 30 hours of driving time and it must 
       be at least 90 days after segment 1 before you can take segment 2 of the driver's training class.

*Complete segment 2 of driver's ed class

     *Before you can get your license, 6 months need to have passed from when you received your permit and a total of 50 driving hours logged (20 additional from the 30 needed to take segment 2)--at least 10 of those need to be nighttime hours. You also need to take a driving test from another third party evaluator.
     *Once you turn 16 you can get your restricted drivers license.  Not until you turn 17 are you able to get your full license. 
Confused yet?  So were we, but I think we finally have a handle on how it works.  Caleb is ready to start logging all those hours!

We are planning to leave for Iowa tomorrow morning if the weather permits.  I am not sure Caleb will be doing any driving on this trip, but we can have him drive/log some hours once we are in Iowa.  Pray for safe travel!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mary Winslow and MWI Update

Michelle Bilkes, wife of professor Dr. Jerry Bilkes, gave the last talk for us this semester.  Our theme this semester focused more on the seminary wife and her personal development--her devotional life, her character (modesty in dress, actions, etc), and contentment.  We try to have one talk of the semester focus on a historical figure that best illustrates the topic of the semester.  Michelle chose Mary Winslow, mother of pastor Octavius Winslow, as the historical figure this semester because of the wonderful devotional quality of her letters.   What a blessed evening we had, first learning about her life and background and then breaking up into groups to read her letters.   

Last Friday night we closed the semester with a social gathering at the home of Dr. Michael and Sandra Barrett, the new academic dean.  Interestingly, Dr Barrett was in Iowa deer hunting with a friend from Greenville, SC.   We all brought goodies to share and Mrs. Barrett provided beverages and her beautiful home.   I enjoyed visiting with some women that although I knew who they were had really never had a conversation with.  The one I appreciated the most was with Roberta whose husband Breno will be done at the end of this semester.  They will be returning to Brazil in just a few short days. (Russ helped them pack their container.  They were amazed that after they were done they had filled only 2/3 of it.  Not that amazing if you have ever watched Russ pack).  I am glad/thankful I had the opportunity to discuss their ministry in Brazil and how the Lord has led them on their seminary journey. 

Next semester our topics will all relate to the topic of "The Pastor's Wife and Family."  If you are looking for good books to read, the Puritan Seminary website has posted a list of books as recommended reading for seminary wives.  This is a list of books that would be appropriate for any Christian woman, not just soon-to-be pastor's wives.  Click here for the list. 

I will close this post with just a sampling from one of Mary Winslow's writings:

The Christian Journey

Life is a journey, often a short one, and always uncertain.  But there is another journey.  The believer is traveling through a waste howling wilderness, to another and a glorious region, where ineffable delight and happiness await us.  The road is narrow, the entrance strait, so strait that thousands miss it and perish in the wilderness; but true believers, under the teaching and convoy of the Holy Ghost, find it and walk in it.  The King, in His infinite love and compassion, has made a hedge about them, separating and defending them from the many beasts of prey that lurk around them; and although they hear their howlings and behold their threatenings, they are safe from their power.  But their strongest foe is within themselves--a heart deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.  From this there is no escape but by constant watchfulness and earnest cries to their best Friend and Guide for protection.  And were it not for this faithful Guide, how often, discouraged by reason of the way, would they turn back!  But He watches over them by night and by day, strengthens them when weak, upholds them when falling, encourages them when cast down, defends them when attacked, provides for them when in need, leads them by living streams, and causes them to lie down in pleasant pastures and on sunny banks.  And as they advance they obtain brighter views of the good land they are nearing, and they long to see the King in His beauty, and the land that is yet very far off, and to meet those that have already arrived on the happy shore."

If you are interested in more wonderful devotional nuggets, but do not have a book with her writings, I recommend a website "The Octavius Winslow Archive".  You can access it by clicking here.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Homeschool Weeks 11-14

At thirteen weeks we came to the end of our study of the Roman Empire.  We have so enjoyed our study of the Roman way of life,  the different emperors, and just learning what the world was like at the time of Jesus and the early Church.   These last few weeks he have learned more about the Roman Colosseum, gladiators, and chariot races.  This went along well with our study of the early church martyrs and the emperor Nero.    When we read/studied about Constantine we also learned about the Council of Nicaea that was held to combat the spread of Arianism.  We have been reading about the early church and early church fathers in both Trial and Triumph and Peril and Peace.   This past week (week 14) we studied the Byzantine Empire, Emperor Justinian, and the Hagia Sophia.  We learned more about mosaics and the art during this time period and looked at lots of neat pictures and even a video on the Hagia Sophia today in Istanbul, Turkey.  It is amazing what has survived for hundreds of years!  Nicolas and I also watched a couple of old classics--The Robe and Spartacus.  He had already both watched and read Ben-Hur so we didn't watch that movie this time. 

We finished our Roman Empire unit with a Roman feast last week Friday night.  We had lots of fresh vegetables and dried fruits (figs, raisins, plums).  I even cooked an artichoke for the first time, made a yummy dipping sauce, and then learned how to eat it!    I had thought we would cook some chickens and pretend they were peacocks by making peacock feathers to decorate.  But then I made the chicken on Wednesday night instead when Greg and Sydney joined us for supper.  Since Romans didn't have potatoes, that worked out better anyway because who wants chicken without mashed potatoes and awesome chicken gravy!  Nicolas' idea was to make little meatballs for dormice instead.  The Romans often kept dormice in jars to feed them and fatten them up, then ate them as a delicacy.  Yum?  The meatballs were good though...

We ate in the triclinium the area in the home where most Romans dined

The girls had finished their Roman lapbooks and set them out for Dad and Caleb to look at.

The girls completed their Homer Price book unit and we celebrated by making our own homemade raised doughnuts.   We will start a new book unit in January. 

These turned out so well we made another batch this week!

The girls are continuing with their study of the human body in science.  We learned about teeth, nutrition, the digestive system and the respiratory system.   The girls designed a nutrition poster about the six major nutrients, their function, and what foods they are found in. 

We finished our memory work on Romans 12: 1-6a and are now working on 1 Cor 13.   We are still reading Twice Freed as our read aloud and are several chapters behind.  We will be able to catch up as no read aloud is scheduled the next two weeks.  We continue to listen to the music of Mozart in the fine arts portion of our curriculum.

Seth continues his study of American history by learning about each of the states.   Usually he learns about four states a week and so far we have covered Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, and North Carolina.  We try to read a picture book that takes place in the state we are learning about and occasionally have a special project that pertains to the state.  For example, we made a Liberty Bell and read about Mr. Hershey with Pennsylvania, we made peach cobbler with Georgia, and studied the Statue of Liberty with New York.  Since Seth learns the state bird (and flower) with each state he did a mini-unit on birds, including making edible bird nests and a bird feeder.   

(Shredded wheat for grass, chow mein for twigs, and melted chocolate/peanut butter for mud) I set the bird nests outside on top of the grill to harden because I didn't have room in the fridge.  I thought I pushed the grill away from the edge of the porch far enough so the squirrels couldn't get them, but I was mistaken.  I knew I made six and took only five back in the house.  We have one fat squirrel running around our yard...

Seth spent another week on Jesus as Living Water and then another couple weeks learning about Jesus as the Way.    Seth's new read aloud is Farmer Boy.  I read this to the older boys many years ago, but Seth seems to enjoy it more than they did (maybe they were too young?)

We will work hard for two more weeks and then we all look forward to a break!