learning together: W10Y01

argh! i'm two weeks behind!  time for some catch-up.  we finished week 10 in our AO year 1 curriculum 2 weeks ago.


last week we read the travelers and the purse and the lion and the [ahem] ass (that was a nice discussion on the history and current usage of that particular word) from the aesop for children.  the narrations for both went quite well.

we read more poems from a child's garden of verses.  many were repeats of ones we've read in weeks past-the kids have their favorites!

language arts:

spelling words for last week were hid, lid, sip rip and trip.  we spent four days on the words.

we went through lessens 32 and 33 in the mcguffey first reader.  we talked about syllables and she practiced finding one and two syllable words from her reading.

for copywork she used her memory verse from sunday school (3 days) and an excerpt from the poem the gardener by robert louis stevenson.  gibson also did his own copywork again this week.  i love that he's been getting into more table work stuff.

independent reading:

emma was very into reading some of the stories in the hans christian andersen fairy tales book (it was mine and my sisters' when we were little).  she spent the week reading the snow queen, the tinderbox and the shepherdess and the chimney sweep.  i will say that it has been nice to own a good fairy tale book, and one with language that hasn't been "dumbed" down for kids.  eventually, i'd like to acquire another one full of the brothers grimm's fairy tales.
bible and scripture memorization:

we read through and discussed 1 samuel 14:1-46 this week.  our memory verse was the second part of matthew 10:8.


we completed chapter 10 in life of fred.  questions at the end of the chapter covered problem solving exercises for numbers that added to 9 and total nickels needed to make 45 cents, an addition problem and reinforcing days of the week.

a couple of times during the week, she took out the measuring tape to measure various objects (and people) around the house.  this was just something she was interested in doing on her own, which was cool :).


we listened to the audio reading of king alfred and the beggar from fifty famous stories.  she did okay for the narration.  the downside to the audio readings is that sometimes it's hard for me to pay attention to the whole story so i don't always know the whole story.  maybe i should be doing narration exercises too.  ha!

we worked on her benjamin franklin lapbook the rest of the week.  it was nice to be able to gather some of the information we learned in the book and break it down in chunks.  there's a lot to know about ben!  i'll have to share the specifics on the lapbook in a different post.

handicraft/life skill:

more breakfast prep awesomeness!  she made toast for herself and her siblings one of the days.  another day she doctored up some leftover pumpkin pancakes (after i heated them up for her).

we took a short trip to a nearby grocery store.  we talked about the basics of money management after they asked to buy a few extra items that were not on the list: while sometimes mom and dad will pick up an extra non-list item as a treat, we can't do that all the time or we will quickly go over our budget and run out of money.

folk song:

we moved on from hymn study to learning and listening to a new folk song each week.  for week 10 we listened to gypsy rover (or also known as the whistling gypsy).  i'm not quite certain of the origin.  some sources say english while others say irish.  anyone know for sure?  this one didn't interest the kids much for some reason.  maybe it was too slow for them?  or maybe they just couldn't relate to the words?


we read chapter 9 in paddle.  he was stuck in a marsh in this chapter so there wasn't a whole lot of action.  we did identify some of the animals pictured in the book and went over the names of the great lakes.


we did not study a new piece from camille pissaro's work, because our printer is running low on ink (again!).  but i did turn his the market at gisor into an outline picture for emma and gibson to color in.  we used oil pastels and they were encouraged to try and mimic the colors in the original work.

emma also did plenty of self-initiated paper art (many paper chains and little collages from construction paper) while gibson enjoyed wielding the scissors to "make stuff" out of paper.  cash has recently shown more interest when big brother and sister are crafting so he's gotten his fair share of crayons, colored pencils and stickers.  these crafting moments don't last long with him though.  before long the box of crayons have usually been dumped out or he's using the colored pencils for drumsticks.

science/nature study:

we read peter discovers two old friends from the burgess bird book for children.  afterward, the kids looked through the bird cards (i made them from here)to find all the birds mentioned in the story.

emma caught a bug inside the house and put it into her gibson's bug box for observation.  i have no idea what it was since i've never seen that kind of bug inside our house before.  it looked like an ant with wings and orange stripes on the back of the abdomen.  it didn't look like a wasp but i have not been able to identify it.

there were a couple of other science related things we did but it ties in with the benjamin franklin lapbook so i'll save those for later.

other things:

emma got a little impromptu music lesson from her dad.  they played amazing grace together: dad on guitar and emma on the toy xylophone.  it sounded good pretty good.

ballet continues to be the highlight of emma's weekend.  she showed me some chasses which she learned in class this week.  and speaking of ballet, the kids requested that they watch the nutcracker on video.  how could i say no to ballet??  they like to act out the story with emma usually being clara and gibson as the nutcracker.  it's cute to watch.


RE POST: black friday and winterfest sensory overload

i thought it fitting to re-post this today.  it's that time of year again for our family.  i am mentally preparing myself for the onset of THE most exhausting time of year for me and especially my husband. the time of year where our kids will probably see him 1 day out of the week for the 2-3 weeks leading up to christmas.  where 12 hour workdays turn into 15-16 hour workdays for my husband.  thinking about it makes me look forward to christmas day even more...where we can all finally be re-united, chill and celebrate jesus.

side note: winterfest is this saturday.  if you've never gone, it's worth checking out at least once.  also many cleveland handmade artists will be there selling some of their awesome stuff from 3-7 p.m.

originally posted on 05 december 2011.
much like years past, black friday for us does not involve getting up in the wee hours of the morning (or nowadays it's more like staying up until the clock strikes 12).  well, except for my husband who has to work the day after thanksgiving.

we are not fans of the whole black friday thing anyway.  the madness and long lines just to save some money?  don't get me wrong, i'm all for living frugally and managing your money wisely, but i don't think it's worth the craziness of black friday.  and it makes me cringe a little thinking about what that whole day represents (at least to us).

i just don't see how i can support a shopping day where people fight each other for the same item to the point of injury (or ignoring someone who needed help).  it's appalling.  and what about the workers at these big box retailers?  you have some stores opening up at midnight or even on thanksgiving day.  some of these people are missing out on family time just so that they can serve the needs of consumers hunting for bargains on things they probably can live without?  i know what that's like.  i'm married to a man who has a job where the busiest time of year is this time of year.  the weeks before christmas mean longer hours (for the same pay).  the days leading up to christmas day means our kids don't see him at all (one day he was at work at 5 a.m. and didn't get home until almost 9 p.m.), and i am left with an exhausted husband.  we have dealt with this every year for the past 8 or 9 years, and i can't say that i've gotten used to it.  i've learned to expect the worst in december, but it doesn't get any easier.  while i am thankful that he has a job, and that the busy season means money coming in for his company (which means he can continue to get paid), it's hard to find joy in the reason why he's busy: consumers doing what they do best.

maybe instead spending money on more stuff, we learn to live with less.  maybe instead of buying the xbox or flat screen TV at a huge discount, save your money and wait for the item to go on sale at another time of year.  or maybe consider not getting it and be content with that smaller TV or the more dated game system.  or buy used and create less waste.  what do our actions represent on black friday when we choose to participate in all that madness?  what exactly are we supporting?  i'm not saying you shouldn't go shopping at all, but maybe re-examine the intention behind choosing to shop on that particular day.


so what did we do on black friday?  well, we did spend a little money.  but instead of heading out to the chain stores at midnight and fighting the crowds we hit the local shops.  as i mentioned here, room service had their made in the 216 holiday shoppe opening that night so that's where we headed.

like years past, i have never been disappointed at the quality and variety this store has to offer.  their holiday shoppe always features a nice selection of local artists, from clothing, jewelry and other accessories to paper goods and kids' toys.

then we hopped over next door to say hello at another local favorite, salty not sweet.  i found thee perfect gift for someone.  and i mean perfect (at least in my opinion).  and it worked out because i didn't have a clue yet what to do for this particular recipient.  i'm just a little excited over the find.  just a little.

the following day, we decided to check out winterfest in downtown cleveland after aaron got off work.  when we went last year, we had a great experience checking out the gingerbread homes and tooling around downtown that we figured we'd try that again this year.  note to self, if we go downtown for winterfest again we need to go in the morning or early afternoon.  by the time we arrived, the streets were blocked off and there were TONS of people.  tower city was packed.  people spilled out into public square.  there were people, people and more people.

oh yeah, and we saw some lights, and i think some gingerbread houses and more people.  while it's fantastic to see such a great turnout for cleveland's tree lighting event, being crammed like sardines and worrying that my little ones are going to be swept away by a sea of people is not my idea of fun.

it was definitely one of those experiences where you were glad to be able to go do it once (so that you could say that you did go), but probably won't do again in the future.  as emma so eloquently stated about her winterfest experience (and i think she spoke for all of us): "i'm ready to go home."

so we did.


learning together: W9Y01 review

we wrapped up week 9 last week.

language arts:

for spelling we had the words if, is, it, bit, lit.   she got the pattern pretty quickly so we only spent 3 days on spelling.

copywork was 3 days of her memory verse and 2 days from an excerpt of bed in summer.  gibson requested his own copywork a few times so i printed off a few tracing sheets for him.

we went through lessons 30 and 31 in the mcguffey reader.  all words she knew, but it gives her a chance to slow down and talk about some of the words she's read.


from the book beautiful stories from shakespeare, we listened to the audio version of the tempest.  i think she had a hard time grasping the whole story..."there was this big storm and this man and this girl were on a boat.  the man was the girl's dad and they went to this place and the daughter got married."  but i think she did a pretty good job narrating, don't you think?

we read the farmer and the stork and the sheep and the pig from the book the aesop for children. the aesop stories are usually pretty easy for her to narrate since they're short.  she seemed to particularly enjoy narrating the sheep and the pig...probably because the ending had the word "bacon" in it.  haha!

we read the story how the rhino got his skin from just so stories.  actually, we listened to the audio version and emma and gibson followed along in the book (since we own it already).  it gave me a nice break from reading so that i could do other things, and the kids were able to enjoy the pictures from the book while listening to the story.  narration was a little choppy for this one (possible because gibson kept trying to throw in his 2 cents worth), but she got the basic idea.

we read a few poems from a child's garden of verses.  i can't remember all of them but some were bed in summer, the gardener and marching song.

independent reading:

some of the books read included angelina and the princess, the berenstain bears media madness, greece, the beginners bible, and princess emily and the wishing star.


we finished reading benjamin franklin.  we read 3-4 pages at a time and i had emma narrate after each reading sessions.  there's a lot of information in that book!  even i learned things i didn't know about ben.  we'll be working on a benjamin franklin lapbook week 10 to help gather all that information and put it in one spot.
we listened to the warrior queen from the book our island story.  we had already read that in week 8 but emma wanted to listen to the audio version (i guess she gets tired of hearing my voice sometimes...ha!).

we read the story of androclus and the lion from fifty famous stories retold.  side note: i downloaded this book (for free) on my kindle app (also free) for my phone and it's been fantastic to have!  emma really liked this story because of the sweet ending - androclus is reunited with his lion friend.  she did excellent job of narrating this particular story probably because she thought it was so sweet.


i still haven't done much of what i had planned for math except for going through life of fred.  it seems to be enough and there doesn't seem to be a need to supplement with additional activities through out the rest of the week.

emma completed chapter 9 in fred with questions at the end addressing time telling, days of the week, counting by 5s (in nickels), using ordinal numbers and numbers that add to 9.  i think after this term ends, we'll probably do a chapter from fred 2-3 times a week instead of 1 time a week.


we listened and tried to memorize "anywhere with jesus."  i found a youtube video of a vbs group doing this song with moves.  i think i had more fun doing the dance moves than the kids.  check it...

bible and scripture memorization:

we read through 1 samuel 9:1 - 12:25 where saul is annointed king of israel.  both emma and gibson colored a coloring sheet and we discussed the story together.

the memory verse for week 9 was from john 14:15.  it was a pretty short verse to memorize, though we also discussed the meaning of that verse, its context and how we can apply that practically.


we read chapter 9 in paddle to the sea in which grain elevators were mentioned.  we found a couple of videos on youtube of grain elevators doing their thing and talked about their purpose.

i still haven't gotten around to printing out a large sized map for the kids to trace paddle's journey.  i need to get on that!!

handiwork/life skill:

i taught her how to toast bread and she was able to prepare breakfast for herself and her brothers one morning.  oh man, was that awesome...for me.

emma and gibson also helped dad with the raking.  gibson came back in with a muddy face.  i think he had a great time out there.


we didn't spend a whole lot of time on our language study this week.  we did listen to the CD that came along with the book a few times.  

other things:

it finally dried up a bit last week so we were able to spend some time outside.  there was some serious biking and running going on!

ballet has been going really well.  last week they got to dance in the dark with glow sticks and used the barre to do plies and tendus.  emma is very serious in class...at least when i peek in there.

emma was really into making paper bookmarks last week.  there were LOTS of colorful strips of paper. gibson was into doing his own "crafts" too which involved some papers stuck together with glue.

side note on narration: i came across a thread in the AO forums where parents were recording their kids' narrations and then transcribing them.  some of the narrations were pretty funny, and it made me feel better that some days emma's narrations are a bit off the mark.  i think i might have to try recording a few of hers.  it would be interesting to see the progression over the years.

wordless wednesday::sweet on you

the boys love their baby sister.

i had to pry her away from this guy, because he did.not.want.to.let.her.go.

more wordless wednesday here, here and here.


3 months

my dear baby girl,

have i told you how sweet you are? 

have i told you how i love having you nuzzled right next to me in bed and seeing your cute face when i wake up in the morning?

i love looking at your little fingers and toes.  this time next year they wont be so little anymore.

you are growing slowly but surely, weighing in at 8.1 lbs at your weight check last week.  you know your brother was about that much when he was born.  it's funny to think about it.

your smiles and coos are more frequent (unless you're hungry, sleepy or both), and i still can't stop smothering your sweet little face with kisses.

one of my most favorite things is watching the bond and love that grows between you and your siblings.  and your cash-cash would literally smother you with hugs, kisses and drool if he could.

i'm thankful for having you here with me.  i'm thankful that i have the opportunity to be your mama, and that you have a daddy, brothers and a sister that love you so, SO much.

kisses, love!


sandy's surprise

one week ago today was sandy's debut on the east coast.  it's weird to think that a week from that crazy storm day has passed already when so many parts of the east coast are still trying to recover from the wreckage and loss.

sandy even managed to reach us here in northeast ohio, though the mess she left behind was nothing compared to the devastation on the east coast.  there were huge pine trees uprooted, damage to roofs, and many neighborhoods lost power.

i wasn't prepared for our area to be so affected by it, especially after waiting for our power to return 24 hours after the storm came through.  we ended up losing power for 3 days (though there were others who lost power for almost a week).  the days were spent trying to generate heat from our gas stove and keeping the sink from overflowing with dirty dishes. 

emma made her own school activities during the outage.
the kids didn't seem overly affected by the loss of electricity, except for at night when they didn't have their white noise to lull the to sleep.  they spent the day doing many of the usual things, though we didn't do any of our school readings for the week since i needed the computer for it.  i tried to wear lani as much as i could so that she would stay warm, and i will say that i was SO thankful that all she needed for nourishment was my milk!

gibson completed another 24-piece puzzle.
 while the loss of power wasn't a pleasant experience, we weren't miserable.  make no mistake, 3 days without power with 4 young kids and no car during the day was no walk in the park, but we still managed to have fun and share a few laughs.  and here is the best part about losing our power: experiencing God's love.

enjoying some electricity and heat at the mall.
that's right. 

sometimes, it's easy for me to forget how much he truly cares for us.  he shows us he loves us (pursues us daily) in big and small ways, and sometimes i totally miss it!  when we lost power, we had friends and family that stepped up to help us and care for us.  homes for us to stay at were offered, freezers were made available to save our food, batteries were provided to charge our phones and the "can i get you anything?" messages were many.  clearly, we have some awesome people that love us.  but even more clear: God loves us.  there was no reason to be miserable during that time, because i was reminded every single day that he was with us.

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