Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New things...

 Samuel smiled for the first time on May 4.  He was exactly 2 months old.  That is later than my other babies have smiled but normal for him, since he was 6 weeks early.  It's been difficult to know what to expect from him, since he will be behind developmentally for a while.  It's expected that he will be all caught up by the time he is a year old.  I think it might be sooner than that though.  He's obviously already made up for the low birth weight!  He is so chubby already!  :)

I spent last week planning for our next school year, which has actually officially started.  Strange time to start school but Micah had already finished up his first grade year and is very ready to move on.  I held him back in kindergarten but he advanced after the break I took from schooling him very quickly.  He is currently half way through the Little House series and reads voraciously.  He has a very quick mind as far as math goes and understands concepts very quickly and easily.  So I put together a plan for him to do 2nd grade from May 2011 to December 2011 and 3rd grade from January 2012 to August 2012.  Part of me wants to ditch the whole concept of "grades" and just allow him to work as quickly or as slowly as he needs to in the various areas of learning.  But I guess they help keep me organized so we will keep them for now.  But as it is he is doing Saxon 3 for Math in "2nd" grade and cursive handwriting in Handwriting without Tears which is technically 3rd grade, and he is reading at a middle school level, so well, maybe he is in 3rd grade after all.  Hmmm....  

Andrew who is 5, turning 6 in November, I have started in Kindergarten.  I had thought to wait until August, but then decided, why wait?  He is eager and interested.  He told me the other night, "mommy, I want to learn to read so I can read the Bible."  So sweet!  I hope he can learn easily and quickly!  

For Literature, Science, Geography, History, Art and Music I looked through all of our books and came up with my own "curriculum" of study for these subjects. 

We will be reading,

"Hello, Goodbye, I love you" by Pamela Mueller, which is about a boy who trains a guide dog for the blind.  
"Growing Seasons" by Elsie Splear.  It is about the different aspects of life on a farm during the various times of the year.  
Castaways in Lilliput, by Henry Winterfeld.  This is a story about two children that end up on the shore of an island full of little tiny people!
The White Stallion of Lipizza by Marguerite Henry.  
The Borrowers by Mary Norton.
Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.  
The Beatinest boy, The Rightful Owner, and A Penny's worth of character all by Jesse Stuart.  These are all character building stories.

As I considered what to do for science this year, I decided to take a break from doing another Apologia Exploring Creation series, which we thoroughly enjoyed, and read several biographies of great scientists.  Here are some of the books we will be reading, Archimedes, Johannes Kepler, Robert Boyle, Ben & Me, Louis Pasteur, Thomas A. Edison, Albert Einstein, and finally the Story of Inventions. Several of the books are put out by the Sower Series (love these!) and a few are Childhood of Famous Americans.  We will read these Monday through Wednesday and Thursday will be science experiment day which I will be using a book called Ancient Science: 40 Time-Traveling, World-Exploring, History-Making Activities for Kids by Jim Wiese.  We will also be reading through a simple fourth grade Bob Jones science textbook that covers a variety of topics.  Adding that in helped me feel like we are covering a wide variety of subjects.  For the boys in Kindergarten and 2nd grade I want to give them a wide variety of exposure to different aspects of creation.  Later we can go more deeply but for now I want to inspire them to love science!

I found about 12 of these biographies from the Childhood of Famous Americans series.  I will be giving them to Micah throughout the year to read to himself.

For Geography we will be focusing on Africa....  I'm so excited!  We will be reading a biography put out by YWAM on Mary Slessor, a missionary from the 1800's in Africa's Calabar region (The West coast right before it turns Northward), Come with me to Africa as well as African Journey which were both written by photojournalists and take you to many different African countries.  I bought the boys blank books to make their own atlas's so to speak of the different African countries we learn about. They will draw a picture of a map of each country as we go and narrate the various things they learn in their books.  We will also be reading Panther Dream by Bob Weir which takes you into an African rain forest, Stories from Africa which is a collection of short missionary stories, and lastly we will read a biography published by YWAM on David Livingstone.  Also, each day that we do geography (Tues,Thurs) I am teaching the boys one geography term from the book, Geography from A to Z and then they make a model of it out of either felt or construction paper.  My weakness is giving the boys hands on things to do so I'm hoping they will enjoy this as well as it help them to remember the terms and what they mean.  It helped me because I still remember what an archipelago is!  (many small islands clustered together)

Another new thing!  Corn!  Steve expanded my gardening space and so I decided it would be fun for us to grow corn this year.  Corn is a low yield crop, but that doesn't matter!  For now, based on the space we have to garden in suburbia, for the most part, our garden is for fun.  I'm not trying to grow a tremendous amount of food for us.  In the other part of the garden we planted cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, parsley, sage, oregano, and a few different kinds of flowers that the boys picked.  Using the square foot gardening method you can fit quite a bit in a relatively small space.  I also planted a squash plant and three sunflower seeds next to the corn.  It is so fun to watch these things grow!

We decided to expand our deck this year and it has been so wonderful!  Steve had it done while I was in the hospital having Samuel.  It was a great surprise to come home to.  We enjoy eating our meals on the deck surrounded by the trees and the singing of birds!

Isaac and Benjamin have become buddies.  Isaac loves to carry Benjamin around and Benjamin loves to play with Isaac.  It is sweet to see!

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