Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Busy Holiday

We have had a busy last couple of weeks. I think that is pretty standard. I say busy, but yet not crazy. It has been a great month. Here are some highlights....

Our Church Christmas Play - The Pirate's Christmas Treasure
All of the girls and mom were in it this year

Michigan State University Graduation
The girls uncle graduated from my alma matter. A fun day spent with family.

Enjoying the Michigan Snow With Friends

American Heritage Girls Christmas Party
We did our first service project, which was collecting new shoes to donate to Shoes for Orphan Souls.

Cookie Day 2010
We baked and decorated cookies all day with friends. A great day of playing games and even dinner afterward.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

2nd Annual Gift Wrapping

Last year I shared pictures about taking the girls to a mission, Carriage Town, not far from our town to wrap Christmas gifts for the children who are staying there. We went with our co-op and had such a wonderful time. Thankfully we were able to go again this year and it was equally as lovely.

Sissy has been talking about our return trip since the day after our trip last year! Once we started school this fall she started asking, "Did they schedule the Carriage Town trip yet?"

For fun I appliqued matching t-shirts and jeans for the girls and off we went!

It was run the same way as last year. The mission was able to purchase gifts for the children and they put them on long tables according to gender - boys on one side, girls on the other. The gifts
were then arranged according to age. We were given sheets that listed the children in a particular family, their ages and their "wishes" for Christmas. Sissy wanted to work with a friend so the two older girls worked together and wrapped gifts for 4 families.

Peanut, Sweet Baby and I wrapped gifts for 3 different families. The girls were most excited when they were able to give a child the exact gift that was on their wish list.

Another day in the books...We still have 14 days till Christmas, but our family has had the most fun already this season as we are working to share with others. I hope that as my children grow older and look back on their Christmas memories, they aren't filled with thoughts of the gifts they got, but rather they remember the fun ways that we tried to help others, the family and friends that returned to Michigan (you know who you are!) and the way that we tried to bury Jesus deep into their souls.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Science - Apologia Anatomy

This year we are not following the science recommendations of My Father's World, rather we are doing our own thing and decided to take a look at Apologia. Apologia Science is widely used and loved by homeschoolers, but this is our first year using it. We decided to use their brand new Anatomy study and we have really been enjoying it. Sweet Baby has decided that looking at the pictures and talking about "all the blood and stuff inside me freaks me out", so her and I are doing a ladybug unit right now.
The textbook itself is beautiful and the content is more than complete. One concern I had about using Apologia is the narration. Sissy is not a strong writer and it takes her some time to get a decent couple paragraphs down. Aplogia works on the narration aspect of learning - the child reads (or is read to) and then they are expected to write about what they just learned. I knew that if we did narration our days would be LONG and wold be fraught with tears. Rather than do narration in the traditional sense, a friend suggested mini books from Live and Learn Press. This has been a perfect option for our family!

The mini books that were designed by the ladies at Live and Learn correspond to each lesson in the book. These books are just like mini books that you place in lapbooks but we place them in a 3-ring binder. The kids enjoy cutting them out and gluing them together when the lesson is completed. What I like is that each book has a topic with specific questions for the children to answer. This really helps them zero in on a particular topic and pull it together.

It does take the girls some time to do all of the books for each lesson, but if we were doing narration, I still think it would take longer. Just giving them an open ended question about a topic would prove difficult for Sissy. In terms of writing the narration, I would expect the girls to write a rough draft and then finalize it which would take even longer. With the mini books they are guided with exact questions to answer. I do not expect perfection in the books (we do correct spelling though) and the kids like the graphics on most of the books.
Right now we are studying the blood - the difference between veins and arteries, functions of blood, etc . Here we were looking at veins...under the tongue.....
and in your eyes. YUCK!