Friday, February 1, 2008

Miscellaneous Notes

(These newsy notes are especially for my most faithful reader--my mother-in-law...who probably thinks we fell off the face of the earth.)

Academic Notes

We've had a great week of school. My boys are finally progressing in their reading! Last week we had a day of really bad attitudes with them when it came time for reading. I finally realized that the A Beka reading and phonics program is just too tedious for them. So last Thursday we visited my new favorite place. Maybe you've ordered curriculum from Learning Things before. Well, I found the the home of Learning Things, and it's a curriculum lover's paradise: A huge warehouse with shelves and shelves of curriculum to peruse...and a huge play area which the kids loved. My saving grace (saving as in money) was that the warehouse was freezing, so I couldn't endure the hours and hours I wanted to spend looking through everything. Anyway, I chose some Spectrum reading workbooks for the boys, and they LOVE them! They beg to read on in the continuing story, and they are becoming more and more fluent everyday.

In History, we're studying Benjamin Franklin. I've found My Father's World a little disappointing in that it is not nearly as meaty as I would have liked, so I'm supplementing a lot. I'm trying to add a little more excitement into it because the kids really haven't been very enthusiastic about each lesson. For Ben Franklin, I added some Science, plus we're working on a lapbook which I'll post about later. The kids enjoyed the science experiment about static electricity. To execute the very simple experiment, find a dark closet. Rub a balloon on your head and then touch it to the contacts at the end of a fluorescent light bulb...and see what happens.

We took today off because we had a playdate at a friend's house. The kids were mildly annoyed when I told them we would be having school tomorrow! When Mark is gone on the weekend, it throws me off psychologically, so I decided to battle it psychologically by treating tomorrow as a regular weekday. We'll just work on our lapbooks and some other fun projects to make the day pass by faster.

One fun project we've found to supplement our geography is the Great Commission Kidz Club. This club is through the CMA, the mission my in-laws work with. When you sign up, each child receives a passport and stickers to mark their travels in the passport. There are about 30 countries to study as well as online connections with missionaries in those countries. Yesterday we began our study of Israel.

Athletic Notes

I have to honestly admit that basketball is getting a little old...practices two nights a week and two hours of games on Saturday all while trying to corral the other kids at the same time! Michael has decided he doesn't like basketball. Alex is enjoying it. Both are improving on the court, although they both need to learn that you must go after the ball, not wait for it to come to you!

Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I've signed them up for soccer which begins as soon as basketball ends. I know Michael will enjoy this more as he has played before. We won't normally do two sports in a row, but this year I thought I'd do both. Next year they can pick their favorite!

Other Notes

We had a strange night Tuesday night. The high winds were howling outside our house when I went to bed. About 1:30 the electricity went out. As it got colder and colder in our house, I got a little worried about the kids, so I woke them all up, packed them into the car, and headed out to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Didn't get far, however, because I found the culprit for our power outage: a big tree and power lines were blocking our neighborhood entrance. So we headed back home and cuddled together in my room.

On a separate but related note, Jacob overheard Mark and I plotting an experiment to see how late the kids would stay up if we just allowed them free reign over bedtime instead of enforcing the rules. Since then, he has asked nightly if this is the night we're going to let him stay up. I thought perhaps our middle-of-the-night adventure would substitute for our little experiment, but you can't pull one over on Jake; he informed me that since he slept before I woke him up in the middle of the night, it doesn't count!

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