Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Homeschooling Gone Wild!

Ok, so that title may make you think we're getting crazy. (with a dropped y and added ier)  But I promise, it was only because we were trying so hard to be efficient testers!

Naomi and Ethan are trying to get into an alternative school, CAM, next year.  I had to attend a mandatory meeting before their applications, along with written essay answers (from both the children and parents), would be accepted.  As well as before they could do the testing this afternoon.  They'll be tested on Reading, Writing, and Math.  We decided to brush up on our math skills since that is MY weakest teaching area.

My focus being solely on the two older kids today meant that the two younger were excused to be outside all day.  I am SO thankful to have a duck pond behind our house where they can spend hours playing together!  I am even more grateful that they enjoy doing this.

AND, I am even more welled to the brim with gratitude at what I found when I went searching for them after they failed to come home for over an hour and a half!!

("He's teaching me about survival and birding!")

I love finding my kids enjoying God's creation together, and sharing their knowledge of that creation with each other!  What a blessing it is for them to find these areas of learning that bring to life their appreciation for the beauty around us, and excite their teaching and learning skills!  

Of course, what would all of that be without their adorable personalities and beauty that God has placed in each of them!  This mama is seeing her blessings!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Ethan.. the surprise funny man!

Ethan was supposed to be doing schoolwork.  He has made great strides this year in his responsibility for his education.  So.. he spends more time off on his own "gittin' 'er done!".  Today, he appears to have become distracted.  He came in and said, "Mom.  I got electrocuted."

I think he was wrestling a blankie.  :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Funny things they say, compilation

When eating lemon grass chicken dinner, Jesse stops chewing and says, "This stuff isn't really grass is it?".  I reply that I suppose it is some sort of grass, and that I didn't do a very good job getting rid of the tough outer parts.  He says, "It's more like lemon bark!"  Ooops, guess I REALLY could have done a better job!

Naomi is growing up.  She wore heels for the first time a few weeks ago.  Soon, she'll be driving.  While we were parking at Costco she said to me, "I want a Chair-ROW-key for my first car."  She caught my overly large smile and said, "Is that not how you say it?  Is it Chair-uh-key?.. ugh, MOM".  My life is filled with lots of "Ugh, MOM"'s lately.. but they're all worth savoring.

Jesse, while supposedly doing Literature, sneezed.  After sitting uncharacteristically still for about 20 seconds he says matter-of-fact-ly, "Mom, I can see my brain cells sending messages.  I see black dots and they have white lines that go through them."  A few minutes later, while still "doing literature", "Am I seeing stars when I see white dots?".
While studying pioneer travel during the 1800's I asked Annah, "How did people get from Sweden to New York?".  She quickly replied, "Speed boat!".. one too many Geico commercials for that girl!

Jesse is studying Medieval times.  He's supposed to draw a coat of arms.  After much discussion and clarification, he decided to draw a griffon.  He begins by dividing the shield into fourths.  I said, "I thought you were drawing a griffon?"  He says, "That's one.  I'm gonna draw a snake, and a lion, and a badger.  They're going to be... " I cut him off and said, "Stop talking and just write." he immediately replies, "You mean draw?".  Yes, thank you.  Now do it!  Funny how he can figure out language arts issues when he wants to stall.. or go into great detail about something instead of just doing it.


Jesse is having a hard time in school.  It's a matter of focus and interest.  While trying to push him through a Language Arts lesson, he is constantly distracted by a loose tooth.  He sat there staring off for a minute and then asked me, "Mom.  Is there blood?" as he opened his mouth for me to peer inside.  I told him yes there was and his face broke into a large heart melting grin, "That's because it's departing.".... Good use of vocabulary, now back to grammar.


Ethan was discussing Robin Hood with me.  "He lived in the Hundred Acre Wood.. right?"  It's obviously rare that I catch him in a funny... I thought that was a good one!


I was making a cake last week and Jesse came in and asked, "Mom?  How long would it take a snail to travel around the world?"  I told him I wasn't exactly sure.. but a long time.  He replied, " That would be a good science experiment!"

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lessons in Proper Subjects to be Poetically Inspired By

(A tale of yesterday's playtime)

Annah and Jesse played outside all afternoon.  They've even utilized the hose while continuing to appear before me with less and less clothing.

In Composition Jesse and I have been working on poetry.  He's been working on figurative language, descriptive language, similes and metaphors, and he has not been loving it.  This afternoon, the sun must have provided nutrients to his depleted creative self.

Annah came storming inside, bawling.  Jesse was following her, sheepishly, "I'm sorry Annah it isn't BAD".  The fire that shot out of her eyes in his direction said that "Yes, yes it was bad".  Wondering what had changed two kids playing peacefully outside, enjoying the sun and interesting creatures it lures out of hiding; I tried to gain understanding, "What happened?".  Through tears and red hot anger she pointed to her brother and said, "HE said, 'Annah, you're as pale as a dead old man'".  Giggles erupting around me, I tried to soothe my poor daughter's hurt feelers.  "Annah, when I was little, my mom's uncle used to ask my mom, 'What's wrong with that girl?  Is she sick or something?  She's pale as a ghost!'"  (Or, maybe he said Michael Jackson.. I can't remember if according to him it was my nose or skin tone that was Jackson-esque). (not to be confused with my mother's side of the family Jackson-esque qualities)  "Your skin is beautiful and looks like mine." Empathy did the trick and she was able to quit crying, feeling not so alone in her paleness.

I told her brother he should leave his poetry in the classroom for now, and encouraged him toward the belief that a woman's pale skin is a sign of leading a refined life... as I nodded toward my pale offspring wearing a spaghetti strap tank and boxers, drenched from playing in the hose in February.  Refined indeed.

I oversaw the "apology ceremony" and encouraged the two to return to the beautiful, sunshine filled outside.. minutes before the temperature dropped, the sky darkened and pellets of hail began to fall causing another wardrobe change including snow boots and gloves.  They were back to playing, back to enjoying the ever changing out of doors together.  I wonder what inspiration will come from this round of play?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Predicting the Changing Seasons isn't Just for Groundhogs!

"Mom!  It's almost summertime!"

Our internet pooped out on us about noon today.  I took that as a sign that it was time to feed the rascals, and they dropped their pencils and headed out into the sunshine!  A few minutes later, Jesse and Annah came back in, shoe-less looking for footwear.  Annah told me excitedly that it was indeed almost summetime, "It's SO warm outside!"

A few minutes after they returned outside, she came back in.  "Mo-om!  Look, I told you it was almost summertime.  Look what I found out there, a lady bug!"  She wandered around talking to her new found friend and came back asking, "Do you have something for me to hold Lady in?"  I'd already recycled the glass tomato sauce bottles from the weekend, and so offered her a rinsed out tuna can.  I figured Lady stood a better chance of survival if her option to leave was left open.

Annah ran outside, got some grass and brought Lady's new home in to show me.  She then said, speaking to Lady, "Here's the deal, you can crawl on my arm AFTER you do your household chores.  Clean your room!  Good job!  Oh!  Are you limping?"  (I bet she is!)  "You're such a good little creature!  Let's go outside."

They've had their lunch and Jesse brought in his find,,, not as loveable as Lady, his name is Hiss.
Annah continues to talk to Lady.. they seem to be bonding quickly.

"I should clip your wings.... OH!  You little scamp! (pause)  He's a Christian, he keeps bowing to God."

She is a wonder this bug whisperer child I'm raising.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

We're Dropping Like Flies.. Most of Us

I had a little bird
It's name was Enza
I opened the window
And in-flu-Enza

I remember learning this little poem while in Victoria BC with my parents on "holiday" the summer before I married.  We visited some historic village type place.  It was centered around some famous person I don't remember the name of.  They had all sorts of "fun" facts about songs we sing or sayings we use that came from rather morbid roots.  Like the nursery rhyme "Ring a-round the Rosie"  Morbid indeed.  

I don't know when exactly we opened the window, but Enza definitely has flown in.  We've fought tooth and nail, with vitamins and lozenges and teas, and yet slowly by slowly, we're dropping like flies.  

We girls seem to have had it the worst so far.  Although, today Ethan is in bed with body aches.  And, though he is still in denial, Bruce started sniffling and sneezing yesterday.  

The only one who seems to be immune to Enza's ill affects, is Jesse.   I am puzzled by this.  The boy does everything wrong.. or right to get sick.  He spends countless hours outside in the dreary weather, jacket-less and touching all manner of dig-scusting things.  Three out of four meal times, I realize post meal that his hands are covered in grime and his nails look rather Gollum-esque.  He is the one I have to remind to shower.   The one I have to remind that once you shower, you change your undergarments.  Why?  Why is this dirt loving Pig Pen wanna be the only one who isn't sick?  It's not like the rest of us are germaphobic, instant hand sanitizing Nazis.  We all take the same vitamins.  We all live in the same non-neurotic "clean" house.  

I'm reminded of another history lesson I had.  When we were first married, Bruce befriended an adorable elderly couple.  They were both in their nineties and died before Annah was born.  He was Russian, had lived through the Russian revolution and told stories of the horror and meager living circumstances surrounding the Russian people of that time.  She was Dutch and never spoke of her homeland.  Although, she did tell us about that one day she was working as a clerk in a skyscraper and watched the Hindenburg go down in flames.  Amazing story tellers they were.  Anyway, he told us that while he and his sister were in hiding, making their way through the Black Forest with their Grandmother, they had little to no food.  Sometimes, if they were lucky, they'd have a potato to share amongst their little group of travelers.  When they weren't so lucky, Grandma would make soup.  She'd boil roots, grasses, and ROCKS.  They would suck up the nutrient rich broth, and that would sustain them through the cold, wretched wandering they had to endure to come to freedom.  

Maybe, just maybe Jesse is more nutrient rich because he touches all of that stuff outside and by not washing ingests some bacteria fighting goodness God put in creation all around us.  Whatever his secret to staying healthy is, I'm certain it isn't something his cleaner family is going to figure out in the near future.