Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock

We decided, since Olivia is studying mountains right now, to take a trip to Pilot Mountain and hike around it. It was rather chilly, but we soon warmed ourselves up with some good hiking. 

The trail isn't that long, but there are lots of steps

Olivia found lots of places to hide

Gabe was mighty proud that he made it the whole way by himself

Even Ezra wanted to walk as much as he could.
Since we're gluttons for punishment and the trail at Pilot Mtn was only a mile, we drove over to Hanging Rock and added nearly another mile to our day. The kids weren't nearly as energetic this time, but they did a fine job of soldiering on.

The boys plodding along. We had to do quite a bit of waiting for them, but they made it. :)

Ezra found himself a walking stick for part of the walk back

Monday, February 27, 2012

Back At It; Asia, part 1

So we are back to our MFW Exploring Countries and Cultures curriculum. Well, back at is as best as we can be. Or schedule has had to be very fluid and flexible. I have to give it to Olivia. She has handled it well. We do school whenever we can fit it in. A little here and a little there. She was excited to get back to it. 

Our first stop in Asia was to Saudi Arabia. Then we "traveled" on to India. For both of these countries and peoples, we used lots of library books. Olivia could read and discover many things on her own. She would come narrate to me some of the books and sometimes she would act them out with her paper doll figures for the countries. A really cool resource that I found this time was called, Kids of Courage by Voice of the Martyrs. We read some true stories of people in Saudi Arabia, learned about their culture and religion and spent time praying for them. She was amazed at how girls and women spent their time and the things they couldn't take part in. As part of each country we visit, Olivia learns about their flag. The Saudi Arabian flag proclaims their belief in Allah and Muhammad. We have been learning the Sh'ma (Deuteronomy 6:4) which is the basis and declaration of our belief in One True God and then declaring that Yeshua (Jesus) is his Son! Olivia enjoyed trying to write some of the Arabic and Hindi alphabets. The pictures in our Material World and Hungry Planet books prompted lots of discussion. We talked a lot about clothing and lifestyle. We tasted some spicy Indian "curry". Our read aloud for this time was the story of Amy Carmichael. What an amazing story of faith, courage and endurance. It did a wonderful job of helping Olivia understand the culture and need of the people of India. And, once again, God used the story to speak into my own life. I highly recommend it.

A box to celebrate the coming signs of spring and new growth. This art activity was based on the Iranian new year celebration of No-Ruz. We also talked about Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees, which happen to fall right at the time we did this project. We are trying to sprout some millet seed to go with this project. We are thankful for the "produce" of our land and desire to give thanks back to our creator. We also talked about how we compare to trees. That our roots need to be planted well in the soil--a good foundation of in the truth of our God--so that we can grow and produce good fruit.

One of Olivia's big "take aways" was how this sari would mean that she is in a very high caste and that it would strictly dictate what she could and couldn't do (as in work), eat and how she couldn't and couldn't behave. She says she also should be wearing lots of jewelry to be apart of this caste.

This is face painting based on Indian Kathakali performances which mix drama and dance. They wore everyday clothing and not elaborate costumes like the sari O has on but we decided to combine these as she acted out and shared with daddy the things she had learned about India.

I admit to skipping some of the science reading and suggestions for the first two of these four weeks. The focus was on man's impact on the environment. While I believe these are important topics and things for our family, I just chose not to use the books and activities suggested. We did review some of our information about deserts and we also learned more about camels. While in India, the focus was on mountains with the various ecosystems that exist on a mountain. And we discussed the various animals that live on mountains. We built a model and then blew it up as a volcano, which of course was lots of fun. We also went for a hike in the mountains not too far from our house.  

The ecosystems we identified (from bottom to top) were grasslands, forests (deciduous and then coniferous), alpine meadows, and then the snowy peaks. We talked about treeline and snowline. We also talked about how not all mountains have each ecosystem as it depended on how high the elevation of the mountain, at its base and at its top.

She is continuing to read through Matthew. Sometimes she reads to herself and then talks with me about what she read and sometimes I have her read it aloud to the family. She enjoys this. We are also reading some of the psalms because she wants to read more than what is assigned in the curriculum. She has done some picture narrations from her various reading assignments. I continue to have her write letters to a family member of her choice each week and it is interesting to see what she remembers most and wants to share with them.


This activity was based on the seal of ancient kings and officials when they would send important correspondence.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book Fun

We spent the week reading "Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear" multiple times. The boys loved the rhyming text and asked for the book over and over. We used some of the ideas in Before Five in a Row (FIAR) curriculum to explore the book a bit more. And thanks to Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations and her creative printables, we did some additional preschool work related to the book. Our activities included discussion of love and family, greetings, playing peek a boo (which Ezra got in on), our American flag, the stars, moon, and sun, and practice with early writing skills, colors, matching, patterns, colors same and different. Gabe's favorite thing was to dress the Bear "paper doll" I made for him. He was made from a brown paper bag and I cut the shirts and shorts out of some scrap fabric. Gabe insisted that his cloths match each time he dressed him. Olivia wanted in on the fun too. The book made them all laugh and laugh. I encouraged Olivia to make up more verses to go with the rhyme (for example, what Jesse Bear might wear if it was snowing or raining) and she really enjoyed that. She also noted and explained to the boys several times that Jesse Bear had bad table manners and that they shouldn't act that way at the table. Thank you, big sister! ;)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Gabe School"

How much do you think we really learn? It sure is fun though. Ezra tries to join in too. :)

letters, rhymes, hand motions

acting out bible stories


Monday, February 20, 2012

We finally got some SNOW!

Winter has been very mild for us this year. The kids were so excited when the snow finally started falling Sunday afternoon. But, alas, it is pretty much gone less than 24 hours later. 

Olivia got to go out Sunday night as the snow was falling. She likes to play in it more than the boys. The boys just watched excitedly from the porch.

This is the next morning. They thought it was really fun but didn't last long once they got cold and wet.

Emma's first snow. She was only out for a minute. It is hard to catch her eyes open wide in a picture. She has big wide eyes. If they were open wider here you would see how deep blue her eyes are right now. The snow, the blue sky, and her outfit really make them stand out.

Warming up. The kids came in to "warm" chocolate (my kids can't handle hot :) ) and a warm oatmeal breakfast.

Story and Art Time

One of our local library branches (Hemphill) has a story time that is followed by an art project. Gabe loves story time and Olivia still enjoys it too. Ezra is starting to participate. He mostly likes to pick up and stack the cushions after the story time is over. The art room is a hit with them all.