Monday, September 16, 2013

Homeschool ~ Week 5

We are five weeks into our homeschool year and it's still going great!  We have had a busy week full of projects.  I think the kids really enjoyed school this week. 

We are using Abeka for History this year and for the most part we are loving it.  Megan and Lily are working their way through American History by studying various famous individuals.  They just finished studying Miles Standish.  We decided to add a little bit of fun into our studies though and we are taking a quick break to work our way through History Pockets.  We are learning about the Pilgrims and what life was like in Plymouth.  The girls are enjoying the hands on activities that we have been doing and it's a nice change of pace.

We did a small craft project on September 11th and spent some time discussing the events that unfolded that day.

We finished studying the state of Delaware and made our own version of the Delaware Memorial Bridge.  The bridge was a fun project.

Megan has been plugging away in math.  I have been pushing her extra hard because she is a grade behind.  When I first began homeschooling her we used Singapore for math.  Long story short, it didn't work well for her.  We ended up using Abeka (just like Annie uses) and it has been going much better.  However, we lost almost a full year because of this.  So, we have been playing catch up ever since.  We even continued math work over the summer to get back on track.  I'm proud of Megan though because she does it without much complaint.

Annie is taking art classes once or twice a month.  I took Megan and Claire with me when I dropped Annie off at her art class.  The classes are held at a local arts center that is housed in an old meat packing plant.  The entire building has been rehabbed and turned into artist studios, cafes, shops, etc....  The whole place has an industrial vibe to it and it's pretty cool.  Megan and Claire enjoyed exploring while we waited for Annie to finish her class.

Annie studied Miro in her class.  This is her finished piece inspired by his work.  I love it!  I am planning to frame all of her pieces and hang them along the basement stairs in our home.  It will be like her own little art gallery. 
So, that's week 5!  Heading into week 6 in a few moments.  This will be a tough week for the girls because there aren't any big projects scheduled for the week.  We will do some bird watching though as part of science and continue working on our History Pockets....those things will break up the monotony for the girls.  Have a good week!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11th

I remember exactly where I was when it happened....everyone does.  Carlos was in St. Louis for work.  I was scheduled to fly out and join him for a little vacation that weekend.  I was settling down in my Anatomy class when someone rushed in and told us to turn on the TV.  I sat in horror watching what was happening.  The classroom was filled with gasps and tears.  I called Carlos immediately but couldn't get through to him on his cell phone.  I felt panic.  I had just found out I was pregnant a week before.  My stepbrother had just finished basic training and was shipping out to the middle east.  After an hour or so of watching with my classmates I went home.  I went home to our empty apartment that was eight hours away from anyone else I knew.  I eventually reached Carlos and we were both too stunned to do much more than say "I love you".  I spent the day on the couch watching the TV.  I spent the day sobbing.  I ended up calling my OB, who I had yet to even see, because my heart was racing and I had a killer migraine.  He called in a prescription for me that was safe to take while pregnant.  I curled up on the couch and slept.  When I woke up I felt sure that it had all been a nightmare, but turning on the TV quickly confirmed that it was not.  Needless to say, I did not get on a plane that weekend and fly to St. Louis.  The following week when Carlos flew home from St. Louis I was a nervous wreck.  I was so happy when he called me from the airport and told me that he had landed safely. 
Fast forward several months....Carlos was in NYC for work.  I decided to fly up and join him for a long weekend.  I was almost six months pregnant.  The entire flight I was a nervous wreck.  I was glad to land at JFK and climb into a cab.  I spent four days in NYC only months after 9/11.  I am not a city person by nature.  I don't enjoy the crowds or the noise.  However, spending that time in NYC was so soothing to me.  NYC had picked itself up and dusted itself off.  People were living their lives.  Seeing native New Yorkers doing their thing made me feel better.  It grounded me.
Every year on this date I remember all of that.  Last year I finally decided my children (the oldest two) were old enough to really learn about what happened on September 11, 2001.  We spent an entire day discussing it.  We watched the news footage from that day.  My girls were horrified and sad.  They cried a bit.  We all cried and held on to each other as we prayed for our country and all those victims. 
Today, we discussed it again.  This year, Lily, joined our discussion.  Again, there were some tears.  My girls were saddened by what we discussed.  We even made a little craft in memory of 9/11/01.

Here's the thing though.  My girls know what happened on that day but they didn't live it.  I am glad of that.  I lived it and the events of that day will haunt my soul for eternity.  I spend a significant part of this day each year in tears.  It's impossible to remember and not cry.  Looking at this photo of my sweet smiling girls holding their little flags with images of the twin towers just brings me to my knees.  I am so grateful that their innocence is still intact.  I am so grateful that, while they understand what happened, they don't carry it with them the same way so many of us do.  I hope and pray that they never experience a tragedy like this that scars them deep down. 
We prayed together this morning.  We prayed for the victims.  We prayed for the victims families.  We prayed for the firefighters, police and all the first responders of that day.  As we were wrapping up our prayer, Lily prayed asking God to give extra hugs to all the people in heaven because of what happened.  I know God heard her prayer and I am sure he is busy wrapping his arms around all of the victims of September 11, 2001.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Homeschool ~ Weeks 3 & 4

Today we finished our fourth week of the school year!  I am happy to say that I have remained organized and things have gone great!

We have been using Road Trip USA and we began working our way through the 50 states.  First up was Connecticut and we made homemade clam chowder to go along with our study.  I had never made clam chowder before and I was surprised at how well it turned out.  The kids ate it without too much complaint, which leads me to declare it a success! 

Noah started his second year of preschool this week!  He is in the 4 year old class.  He attends preschool at a local church three mornings a week.  I thought about homeschooling him for preschool but I have my hands full with his sisters.  Plus, he has a speech delay and being around other children several times a week will help him out in that regard. 

The girls and I went on a nature scavenger hunt at a local park.  They had to find items such as an orange leaf, a beetle, a bird that had red on it, an acorn, a yellow flower, etc...  We opted to do this on a morning that Noah was in was one less kid for me to worry about and chase around.  The girls really enjoyed this.  They found most of the items on their list as well as a snail, a rock shaped like the state of Delaware and a small blue heron.  I didn't take notice, before we left the house, that all the girls were dressed in pink!  I was wearing green...bummer.
Annie has been working hard on her math lessons so far this year.  Math is not her favorite subject but I am proud of the effort she is making and her lack of complaining.

We have been studying American Indians and the girls tried their hands at making their own tepees.  We used a kit ordered online and they turned out pretty well.  The girls decorated the outside of their tepees with traditional Native American symbols.  Upon finishing this project, Lily rushed her tepee up to her room where her mini Lalaloopsies promptly made it their home.

Lily has been plugging away in her first year of homeschooling.  She still voices her dismay at having to leave the school she attended last year, however, I hold out hope that she will begin to enjoy homeschooling in the future. 
So, all in all things are going very well.  The newly designed school room has been working well for us and my determination to remain organized has made things flow easily from day to day.