Sunday, September 2, 2012

Homeschool Week 3 & 4 Recap

Well, if the rest of the year goes as well as these last four weeks, it will be a very successful, enjoyable year!  Now, we haven't started our full-blown weekly schedule with co-op, piano, dance, soccer, choir, swim lessons, Junior Bible Quiz or Miracle's water therapy.  But, I'll enjoy these quiet weeks for now and stay on track while I can!

We finally finished a small book we started the end of last school year that covers 12 Hebrew names of God that are seen through the Lord's Prayer called Names of Our Father by Yvonne Riley.  I really loved how this book taught the names paralleled to the prayer.  As we learned "Our Father" we learned that God is our Abba, or Daddy God.  As we learned "in Heaven" we learned Elohim is our Creator and Ruler of the Universe and so on.  We took this book slowly, as to actually use the names of God in our prayers and talk about them in depth.  The only thing I didn't like about the book was the pronunciations.  They seemed to clash with what I had already been taught or what I had heard elsewhere, so I'm not sure if my kids are saying the names right!  Also, I know I've heard many of these names used after Jehovah, like Jehovah Jirah, but I wasn't sure which ones did and which ones didn't, so I couldn't teach them that.  Wish I knew more about the Hebrew language!  All in all, my kids learned a lot and enjoyed making little posters for our display wall to help us remember the names and the prayer.  By the end, even little BooBoo could recite the Lord's Prayer perfectly and all four kids daily use the names of God in their own prayers at the meal table.

Another bible curriculum we are using this semester is teaching us about the 10 Commandments in depth.  The past few weeks we have been learning about the first three commandments.  Each week we have made a small poster representing each commandment.  On the first poster we included other gods people worship (ancient Egyptian gods since we are studying this in history, Buddha from our studies last year and the golden calf from the bible that we are studying also in history) and our song "Do Not Worship" that we learned.

In the second poster we talked about all the things that get in the way of our relationship with God and become little idols. They chose things like food, toys, games, friends, Legos, video games, music and movies.  I thought they did an excellent job understanding the concept that idol worship isn't just worship of statues or images of gods, but that it's worship of anything we put ahead of God in our lives.

These were in a shop in Chinatown when we visited a few weeks ago. I thought it was creepy being in there with all these idols everywhere but I'm glad I took a picture.  We prayed for the people in Chicago and China, that they will somehow be told of Christ and learn that there is only One True God and put away their idols.

 This past week we talked about misusing the name of God.  Though my kids haven't been exposed to much language at all, and don't know the extent to which this is broken daily in our world, we did talk about saying 'oh my goodness' vs. 'oh my god,' which they do hear from friends.  We talked about how high we should reverence God and all his names and this tied in well with our names of God study we just finished! 

Trying to include crafts is very hard for me.


In God's Design for Life: Plants we talked about the differences of the plant and animal kingdoms, parts of the plant, trees and grasses.  I am amazed at how much Angelica Pickles at 6 is retaining!  She did this chart almost all by herself.

When we learned about stems we put some celery in colored water to see the xylem tubes clearly.  I had them all hypothesize what would happen.  Our celery was limp, so Angelica Pickles guessed the water would 'make the celery come back alive.'  I knew what she meant.  Boo Boo guessed the celery would 'drink up all the water.' Princess Pea guessed the tubes would turn colors and Sid guessed the whole plant would turn red or blue.  They were all pretty much right!  They were so proud of themselves.

And when you see science concepts in their everyday coloring projects, you know they are enjoying school!  Princess Pea posted this on the wall next to our chart a few days ago with no prompting: the parts of a plant.  =)

And Angelica Pickles made this...roots and all.

Boo Boo is still enjoying his All About Reading Level 1 every day.  He is doing awesome!  He started reading his first real book this week!  My all-time favorite part of homeschooling: teaching my children to read!

I'm reading the American Girl Doll book McKenna to Princess Pea for her first read-aloud this year (she just purchased the doll with her own money) and it's been very interesting.  McKenna is struggling in school in the book and she sees gymnastics as her life.  It's the only thing that is important to her.  She's frustrated she has to get a tutor.  After just a day or two into the book, my extremely intelligent 7 year old starts to say stuff like, "I'm not really good at school" and "I'm not a good reader."   


She is awesome at pretty much everything I teach her and at least 2 years ahead of her grade level in reading!  I didn't say something the first few comments, but after 3 or 4 I told her that I was going to discontinue reading the book if she started to mimic McKenna's attitude.  I am very strict about bad attitudes in our home, especially related to school, and I don't want to start an 'I Hate School Club' when I am the only teacher!  ;)  So far I haven't heard anything else, but thought it was interesting.  I love that my kids get into characters of books, but not at the expense of their own individuality or beliefs or character.

In Tapestry of Grace week#3 we learned a lot about Egyptian Mythology and Pharaohs.  A few years ago I would not have taught this stuff to my kids.  But, I think they are all at a good place to understand the differences between religions and beliefs and I don't fear them thinking that these stories are real. They loved comparing the stories of the gods to the One True God.

 Our super simple pharoah collars
 Sid also made the Upper/Lower Egyptian crown worn by the pharoahs

 Sid also made a pop-up pharaoh.  Sid is constantly making paper crafts, lists and elaborate projects on his own, so I'm trying to give him some projects related to history to take up his time so I don't find surprise projects all over my house!  

This was part of the lapbooks I purchased from Tapestry for Year 1.  I'm not a lapbook kind of gal, but I thought my kids might get into it.  We made a notebook last year that they loved to show to people.  Since much of Tapestry won't fit into a notebook, I thought we would use this to show people what we are learning.  They weren't real interested.  I should have saved my $70 and gone with my gut...  Maybe if I spread each piece out throughout the week, they will get involved more...?

Week #4 we talked about how Creation and the Flood were actually written by Moses to encourage the Israelites as they were wondering in the desert.  We had some great books on dinosaurs that I found super interesting myself like The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible by Taylor and What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs? by Dinsmore and Dry Bones and Other Fossils by Parker. 

We even found a fossil in our yard last week we were able to tie in to school!  It was thankfully a slower week because I didn't have the planning day I usually have since I had a busy weekend.

Loving the cuddles when Mr. Prince gets home...  The learning never stops 'round here!

Between week 3 & 4 I helped run the Children's Resale at my church and brought home some great finds!

 $10 for 20 of the Treasury of Illustrated Classics books

And a TON of Magic School Bus books!  
I was gone Saturday and Sunday and I think my two oldest devoured every single one before I got home!

 Dress-up clothes....can we say Punky Bruster?

Princess Pea was excited to have a real gymnast outfit like McKenna in her book.

Unfortunately, the reason I was gone all weekend is because I had to take Miracle to Riley Children's Hospital due to an increase in seizure activity.  She was having a seizure every hour after 2pm on Friday and then every 20-40 minutes while I was at the Resale Saturday morning.  I got to Riley by 4pm on Saturaday, but didn't leave the ER until 9:30pm.  I requested an EEG numerous times, but apparently since she has multiple seizure types, her medication choices are limited and they felt there was no need for an EEG.  After giving her IV Dilantin, her seizure increased to almost 15 every hour that evening.  They gave her some extra Keppra and things finally calmed down.  Sunday morning the two neurologists taking care of her said she could go home if she continue to show no more seizures.  At noon I asked my nurse to contact them for discharge paperwork.  At 4pm I got word that they wanted me to stay another night. 
Seizures slowed down until Dilantin was given.  
She was actually happy for a few hours in the ER.
The weekend doctor came in many times telling me I had to stay.  Many times I told him to come back with a different answer.  A social worker even came in after I had packed up the room and tried to sweet talk me into staying.  She also told me if I chose to leave with her, they would call Child Protective Services for neglect.

I actually laughed out loud!

I asked her if she knew how many times I had called her neurologist in the month of August, how many times I had been in the hospital for seizures in the same month (4x)!  I told her I had 7 nurses who had observed me in my home with my kids 5 hours a day, 5 days a week that would state I was NOT a neglectful parent.  Not to mention all our family and friends...

Whoa, I was mad then.  This back and forth continued for hours.

At 8:30 I requested my parental rights in writing.  I simple didn't believe them, yet I wasn't going to chance them taking Miracle from me.

At 9:00 I had discharge paperwork in my hands.

Hmmm...does that mean I was right?!

Man, my MamaBear gets more intense with every hospital stay.

Thankfully, some great things came of my stay there.  The nurses loved Miracle and me and we got along great.  This isn't always the case when you have nurses who want to do their routine, their way, on their time.  I'm not that kind of Mama.  ;)  The one on Sunday actually tried to get the doctor to let me go most of the day.  She knew I was capable.  Two other nurses asked lots of questions about parenting five kids and homeschooling.  And I even ran into another mom with a tubie child, shared contact information and even gave her some of the g-tube cloth drainage tubes I make for Miracle.  She was so grateful.  Though I really despise hospital stays and much of what comes with them, because I have to use their services to care for my daughter, I always look desperately to find the good God places in there for our family or others to make my trips worth it to me.

Now we are debating a new medication that can cause a rash that could be, thanks for the choices doctors!  Sigh.  I'm putting off starting it...praying and hoping that God will move before we have to give this to her.  So far we are still seeing seizures daily.  They are shorter and less intense, but still lingering. It's only a matter of time before they get more intense and longer, unless God intervenes...

So, life goes on.

Onto week #5!  I had scheduled in a week break every 4-7 weeks of school to catch-up what we might have gotten behind on and have a slower week.  This week is supposed to be my catch-up week but I just can't stop!  I have nothing to catch-up on, and with all Miracle's medical issues, I never know when we will be back in the hospital messing up our schooling.  Thankfully this stay was on a Saturday and Sunday!

So, forward we march!