Thursday, October 31, 2013

School Weeks 5-8

The last four weeks of school went so fast!  Here are a few highlights:

Soccer season is officially over.  Northpointe varsity finished the season 11-6-0, losing the second district game 1-0.  Caleb is tentatively thinking about an indoor season beginning after the holidays, but we need to do some further investigation on cost and when and where games would be played.  Nicolas also wrapped up his JV season.  Joining with another JV team and trying to play as "one" team during games was pretty tough.    The two teams started to come together toward the end of the season and played much better, but it was a little sketchy initially.  We had great weather this fall and thoroughly enjoyed going to games and watching the boys.

Now that soccer is over Caleb has kept himself busy with tutoring 2-3 students after school.    He seems to enjoy this and it gives him service hours for NHS.  Nicolas stays after school with him to do homework or to work out with some of his soccer friends.   

We enjoyed two of the boys' orchestra concerts: Northpointe's fall orchestra concert and the first one of the season for GRYS.  CJ was pretty nervous for both of them but for different reasons.  He was co-concertmaster for the school orchestra and had to play a little solo on Tuesday night, and the GRYS music was just so difficult he was nervous about playing in the concert this past Sunday.  Nicolas is in the smaller and a slightly easier Classical Orchestra in the GRYS, but he never seems to show his nervousness.

Caleb passed his driving test this past week and we officially have a third driver in the house.  We've already appreciated the freedom that brings...but also the anxiety (mostly on my part--dad doesn't seem to fazed).  Now he has started his campaign for his own vehicle.  Since it just isn't in the budget unless he buys it himself, his little speeches pretty much fall on deaf ears:)

PT conferences for the boys are next week, so we will get a better picture about how they are doing in school.  We haven't had any complaints...yet, but you never know!

In home school, we continued to study the colonization of the New World including the growth of the Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, and Virginia colonies.  This included spending more time learning about the lives of certain individuals like Miles Standish, Roger Williams, Henry Hudson, and Lord Baltimore.  We also read short biographies on Gustavus Adolphus, Father Jacques Marquette, and John Winthrop.   One day we dried our own corn that we cut off the cob to get an idea of how the colonists and Native Americans dried corn to eat in the winter.

To understand what was happening and how some of the colonization started and grew, we also needed to learn about what was going on in Europe during this time: Thirty Years' War, King Charles I, Cromwell, King Charles II, Louis XIV of France (the Sun King), and Frederick, the first Prussian king.  During this time period the kids enjoyed reading excerpts from Samuel Pepys' diary, a man who lived during the time of the plague and fire in London. 

Unfortunately, much of the economic growth of the colonies depended on slavery.  We learned about the Triangular Trade Route and the unwilling colonists who came to work the tobacco fields, among other things.   We began (and finished) a new read aloud, Amos Fortune, Free Man, which tells the story of an African slave in America during the 1700s. 

We are having quite a bit of fun learning about various animals in science this semester.  The kids continue to work on their animal notebook adding a page of artwork or some other activity as we study each category.   During the weeks 5-8 we studied birds, marsupials, fish, amphibians, and began the study of reptiles.  I think the favorite activity during this time was dissecting an owl pellet.  Anna was pretty sure she didn't want to participate, but by the end of the project she was getting her hands dirty too!  Nicolas joined us for this project as he had two days off of school.   He has remarkable patience with Seth, so I was glad he was home!
One of our science  pictures for the fish unit

This is how our owl pellet packet came from

Getting started with the pellet

Note the disgusted look on Anna's face as she gets started on this project...

...but she quickly gets her hands dirty and enjoys tolerates the dissecting.

The plate of bones from one pellet--probably about 3-4 mice

The kids were able to pick out bones to map out the skeletal system of at least one mouse.

The fall days have just been so beautiful and we have enjoyed them by hiking trails at the Blandford Nature Center.  Dogs are welcomed so Zoe loves coming with us.  I signed Seth up for the home school sessions once a month at the nature center (same time as girls' piano lessons).  He had his first one last week on seeds/leaves.  One of the families from the FRC brings her boys so Seth was happy to have church friends in his group.  We also joined the FRC home school group on a nature scavenger hunt at the Grand River Park in Jenison, MI one morning.  

During this time we enjoyed our visit from Dave and Nikki (previous post).  Philip and Pam also came out last weekend to see Josiah and stayed with us for a night.  It sounds as though Andy and Renee may come for a visit next weekend which works out well since the boys do not have school on Friday due to P/T conferences.  

We covet your prayers as we make decisions about future ministry.  We are learning to trust God as he opens and shuts doors to different ministry possibilities, but it is more difficult than we thought as we contemplate the needs of our family (school, friends, activities, etc).   He has faithfully brought us to this point in Russ' schooling which seemed so daunting when we started, so we know he will continue to provide for the future.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Some Art Prize Favorites 2013

Minotaur sculpture

"Uplifted" sculpture--one of the top 3.

"Dancing with Mother Nature"  wood sculpture--one of the top 10

Lord's Supper chalk drawing

 Westminster Abbey made out of wood. 

Kind of fun

Shirt made out of ties

Not a great picture of the winner, but this is a tapestry of Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Polar bear oil paintings came in 2nd.

Interesting sculpture made of square nails

Whimsical oil painting.  Love the hedgehog...

Metal dragon sculpture

Large pencil drawing

Oil painting "eggs" with bases to match the painting.

A wall of civil war soldiers

Oil of Abe Lincoln

"Wall-eye"   Wooden sculpted fish in the "iris" of an eye

Glass etching

Christmas quilt

Apron made of tape measures

Made of eggplant

Oil painting

Made all of tiny sequins

Live sculpture

Panda made of tires

Detailed little mini-golf