Thursday, April 30, 2015

Olivia's Winter Term 2015

At the beginning of the year we started a new time period in the Simply Charlotte Mason Curriculum: Early Modern and Epistles. It started with the Pilgrims coming to America and covered the beginning of the Colonial Era in America. This year is different, however, because the timeline splits, with one branch covering America and the other covering the rest of the world. So at the same time we were reading about Pilgrims, Quakers, and Indians, we were hearing about Shakespeare and Galileo.
Olivia wrote a "diary entry" of a Pilgrim girl.

For the American side of the timeline, we primarily read The Landing of the Pilgrims for Olivia and then a series of books like Sarah Morton's Day, Samuel Eaton's Day, Tapenum's Day and The Courage of Sarah Noble for the boys. The Landing of the Pilgrims was a really detailed account of the Pilgrims' journey from England to Holland and then to Massachusetts, with excerpts taken directly from journals or diaries of actual Pilgrims. The books for the boys all had wonderful pictures of children in period dress acting out the typical day's work that they would have had to do. Needless to say, the kids were all very thankful that we don't live in those times, though it did give me some ideas...

So I put them to work weeding the garden. :)

On the "Rest of the World" side of the timeline, we mostly covered English history, specifically Shakespeare and the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. We spent a good bit of time specifically on Queen Elizabeth because she was such an important figure in English history. It was during her time that the arts and theater thrived, the Spanish Armada was defeated and the struggle between Catholics and Protestants was calmed, though not entirely resolved. For her portion, we read Good Queen Bess along with the materials included in the Stories of the Nations that comes with the curriculum.
For Shakespeare, we read The Bard of Avon, which told about his life before, during and after the theater. We also read a longer book called Master Skylark, which is about a boy who is somewhat unwillingly pressed into the service of an unscrupulous play director. The boy is from Shakespeare's hometown of Stratford-Upon-Avon and goes on quite and adventure that sees him eventually playing for the Queen herself! While the period language was a bit tough to muddle through at times, it was a very interesting story that the kids really enjoyed. Not too long after we finished the term, Greensboro put on Shakespeare in the Park with As You Like It for the play. It was performed by a group of middle-school-aged children who did a fantastic job. Sadly, I was under the weather that day and forgot to bring the camera along with me. :(
Aside from English history, we also studied about Galileo Galilei. We read the books Galileo's Leaning Tower Experiment, Starry Messenger, and Along Came Galileo. The kids really enjoyed hearing about his various experiments, especially dropping things from great heights. I'm quite surprised we didn't have any "incidents" considering one of our boys' penchant for causing destruction. :)

Rather fortuitously, it turned out that UNCG was putting on a performance of Philip Glass's Opera Galileo Galilei just as we were finishing up the term, so I got tickets for Olivia and I. Neither of us had ever been to an opera so it was a new experience for us both. Fortunately, it was in English and the put subtitles on a screen over the stage so it was easier to follow along. It was very cool. It moved backwards through his life by starting when he was an old man remembering earlier times and then it gradually moved back through time until he was a young boy, touching on not only his experiments, but also on his struggles with the Church and their reaction to his writings.

For Geography, we started a very interesting book: Sailing Alone Around the World. It's the log of Joshua Slocum, a sailor in the late 1890s that decided to undertake a solo journey around the world. He was no stranger to sailing, having been a sea captain on merchant vessels for decades before. The story is very detailed and tells a lot about not only the places he visited but also the people he encountered and the weather he had to endure. Since we'll be doing this book all year, we only covered his journey from Connecticut to Buenos Aires, Argentina by way of the Azores and Gibraltar. Now, you may be saying, "Gibraltar's not between Connecticut and Argentina...?" and you'd be right. Read the book. :) A fun part of this is that we're tracing the route on a map each week. We found a website called Scribblemaps that lets you draw on a map and save it so you an add to it later. Here's ours so far.

For Science, Olivia's continuing the tag-team of Fearfully and Wonderfully Made and Apologia's Exploring Creation. In particular, she's been learning about muscles and blood. She learned about long and short muscle fibers, voluntary and involuntary movements, and what makes up blood (red blood cells, white blood cells and plasma). She did an experiment that involved making "blood" from corn syrup (plasma), Red Hots (red cells) and jelly beans (white cells). She also made a stethoscope out of a funnel, some tubing and a balloon. It really works!

In addition to all that, she is doing some form Language Arts every day with Spelling Wisdom, Pictures in Cursive, Word of the Week and Intermediate Language Lessons. She's also keeping up with her piano practice, which is showing great returns as you've seen from her recital videos. :)
For one of her Language Lessons, she was tasked with writing a letter to a "friend" who was thinking about quitting school. We were surprised at just how caring and thoughtful her letter was. It's a great insight into her wonderful heart. :)

I'll have more on what the boys are doing on their own in the next post.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Olivia's Double Digit Birthday

Happy 10th Birthday to our first born :)
 We did a fun pinwheel theme to the decorations.

We made her a pinwheel cake. 

We decorated the yard with lots of pinwheels.

This is the message that God gave me for her along with the pinwheel theme:

Dear Olivia Hope Sarine,
This week you will turn 10 years old. You will no longer be just one number but 2. That is a big milestone. You are becoming a little lady. I thank God every day for your life. You are beautiful and precious. Today we celebrate you. You have a heart of gold. You love freely. You have great joy. You bring joy and hope to those you meet. Today we put all these pinwheels in the yard because they remind us of you. They make us smile. I pray that you would hold on to the innocence, playfulness, and carefree-ness of your childhood even as you move into double digits. May this next year be a great year for you. Don’t grow up on me too fast. God has big things in store for you though. You have so many gifts and talents to offer those around you. I am so thankful to be your mother. Continue to be who God made you. You are just right!

One of her favorite things is arts and crafts. We gave her a box of various crafty items like Perler beads, a cross-stitch set, origami paper dolls, a Rainbow loom tool, and more bands.

The Molner girls (Caitlin, Amber, Natalie, and Bethany) came to celebrate with her. They also added to her crafty collection with yarn (they taught her to finger knit and use a circle loom), floss, and stickers. They also gave her two books, a Nancy Drew book (she has been borrowing from their collection) and a Minecraft book. They are all sleeping downstairs as I type this. It is the first time we have done a sleepover and it's been lots of fun. They did some crafts together and then watched a movie before finally passing out.

The next morning after breakfast we played.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Passover 2015

**WARNING: If you are squeamish at all, you may not want to read further. There are pictures of a lamb being slaughtered, skinned and roasted.**

Passover is our favorite holiday each year. It's such a powerful time to remember God's redemption and grace, not only with the Israelites being led out of Egypt, but with the death and resurrection of Messiah. Our Passover is filled with traditions that we just love. :)

The first is that we read and act out the 10 plagues with the kids. We came up with fun little activities with each plague so the kids would have something tangible rather than just the story to hear. This year was a little different because we had the kids actually act out the various roles. Olivia was Pharoah, Gabe was Moses, and Ezra was Aaron.

They got pretty into it with Ezra shouting at her to let his people go and Olivia shouting back that she wouldn't :)
Pharoah's "Boils"
Irene saw the Plague of frogs and decided she wanted some frog legs. So not kosher...

The kids also cut Hebrew letters out of a big matzoh box and glued them to sticks like signs. The letters are Pei, Samech, and Chet, which together spell Pesach, the Hebrew name for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The next day was preparation day. It's our tradition (4th year now...:) to gather with 3 other families and go through the whole process of selecting, slaughtering, skinning and roasting the lamb, just as described in Exodus 12. This year was a little different for us, personally, because we've become so involved with our wonderful church community of Valley of Blessing. We got lots of questions about why we weren't coming to their event, but when we described our tradition, everyone completely understood. Doing it this way is such a powerful way to connect with the Word of God. 
I also got asked by a couple of people,"Is that a sacrifice?" and the answer is No. It's an act of remembrance. It's also an act of obedience since God says that this shall be a feast to be celebrated forever. Are we obligated? No, because we aren't Jewish. But if our Messiah did it and we want to be more like Him, shouldn't we celebrate as He would have? 
Everyone gathered to watch, including the kids. This isn't the first time they've seen this, but they 

It doesn't look so great here, but after 3 hours of roasting, the smell was mouth-watering...

The day is also about fellowship. We always have a wonderful time celebrating with our friends. The kids, of course, love it because they get to hang out and play for hours and have a sleepover. :)

Throughout the day, we take a few minutes at different times to do the Four Cups, a tradition of the Passover Seder. The Four Cups are the cups of Sanctifcation, Deliverance, Redemption, and Restoration and comes from Exodus 6:6-7: "Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians."

 This year, to add to the tradition, each family decorated their own Passover Cups to use during the blessings.

The kids each made their own so they could keep them for next year. :)

We all gathered around before dinner to read the Passover story to the kids. The book we use is very interactive and we all enjoy shouting, "A Plague!A Plague!A Plague!" :)

Not only is there a feast when we eat the lamb, but also at breakfast the next morning! :)

It's not only about Passover, though. This is also the time when Yeshua was walking to His ultimate act of mercy. He became the Passover lamb for us all. To commemorate the day, the kiddos made little "tombs" out of flower pots and stones. 

They placed a cross beside the tomb and left the tomb empty! 
That's because Yeshua, our Passover Lamb, is risen.