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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pretend Play

When Vicki and I were kids, there was nothing that we enjoyed more than pretend play. We would get up in the morning and start playing something that might still be going on two days later. Yes, we had fun riding our bikes and swimming...the normal childhood things...but it was always in the context of whatever pretend play we had going on at the time. Even trips to the grocery store or weekends with the grandparents became part of our play.
I never thought that anyone else could ever play as we did, but I was wrong. It makes me so happy to watch Madison and her cousin, Kinley, play together. They are so much like Vicki and me that it makes me laugh inside with joy to watch them play together. I'm so happy that Madison is close to Kinley in this way....in the way that sisters are together. I have so many great memories of growing up with someone always by my side to play with. Madison doesn't have Kinley all the time, but when they are together, it is as if they were never apart. I know that it isn't the same as having a sister, but it gives me comfort to see the two of them together. I pray that, as they grow older, they will not grow apart!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Our Volcano

We had fun erupting a volcano last year, but it was one that my niece gave us to use.This year, we decided to make our own. We couldn't decide what color to make it, so we used all of the colors we had!I didn't know if they would be interested in erupting another one since we had done it last year, but they were....so much so that they used an entire bottle of vinegar and the rest of my baking soda. I guess some things never get old!!

This week we move on to stars...one of my favorite things to study. I guess it's time to get the telescope out!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Patrick Is Ten!

There have been two ages that have hit me the hardest with my children. One was age 5...the other has been 10. When I saw the first birthday card arrive with that big 10 on it, I couldn't imagine where the 10 years had gone so quickly. A part of me feels as if we have had Patrick forever, while another remembers the day of his birth like it was only yesterday. He has brought so much joy to us with his wonderful sense of humor and kind heart. He's so mature for his age, yet loves to have a good time and laugh with those he's close to. Many people assume that he was forced to grow up quickly because he was barely a year old when Carter was born. Jeff and I know that this isn't so....he is the same person that he has been from the time he was old enough to have a personality. Patrick didn't become who he is out of circumstances, but was made by God to fit into the family that would be his.

Patrick woke up early, ready to open his gifts. He had said that he wanted to wait until we had cake, but he was too excited to even make it until breakfast. We were happy to let him go ahead!

After breakfast, we went outside to find some ants for Patrick's new ant farm. He asked for two specific things for his birthday...this was something that I threw in for the fun of it. Patrick has always loved to watch ants, so he was so excited when he opened this. It ended up being his favorite gift. He spent so much time watching those ants...okay, so did I!

Our neighbor, Josh, and one of his friends came over in the afternoon to play Bingo. I bought a bag full of little toys to give as prizes.

Patrick chose dumplings as his birthday dinner, which is the same thing he chooses every year! Finally, we had birthday cake, which Madison baked for Patrick. Afterwards, they watched a movie and slept on the living room floor.
Happy birthday Patrick! You have made our lives brighter for the past 10 years!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Before We Were Homeschoolers

When we decided to homeschool our children, there were many people who asked if I thought I would enjoy it and be able to handle it. I told them all the same thing...that I had been teaching my children since the day they were born. I have always loved learning with them and teaching them. They have always been curious, eager learners. I knew that I could do it because I had already been doing it unofficially for nine years.
I was looking through some of my old albums today and found some great pictures that were taken when my children were all still preschoolers. I had to smile when I remembered how much work we put into hatching out the little chicks in an incubator beside my bed. We got the incubator from my dad and the eggs from our neighbor down the road. We put an X on one side of each egg and turned them on a regular schedule. I'll never forget how excited we were when we could hear the chirps inside those eggs...not to mention the day that the little things started pecking their way out. The kids were amazed that from those eggs came all of these wonderful little black, fluffy chicks. It was such a great experience!

Next, I found a series of pictures that I took of baby birds hatching out in an old stroller on our deck. We were so excited to find a nest that we were able to see into. Every day we checked to see if the eggs had hatched. One day, we checked to find that the birds were hatching out! We got to see them come out of the eggs and open their little beaks for food. We watched them grow big enough to leave the nest and watched from the playroom window as they learned to fly for the first time.

I loved reliving all of the old memories because they remind me of what I love the most about homeschooling...having the time for spontaneous lessons like these. Homeschooling isn't just a way to educate our children. It is a way of life...a life that I feel like we have been living since the day our first baby was born. It took us some time to realize that we could do it on our own....I'm so glad that we did!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Our Seismograph

First, let me say that every homeschooling home NEEDS a big can of Tinker Toys. We didn't buy ours for school, but have used them so many times for Science projects.

We're studying earthquakes this week, so I wanted to find a way to make a model of a seismograph. I thought on it for the first part of the week, then finally had the idea to use our Tinker Toys. Well, we managed to make a model that was, at the least, able to demonstrate how a seismograph works.
We had a good time making it and had lots of fun causing our earthquakes to get the readings on our paper towels! One of us would pull the paper(paper towels) while the others shook the table to simulate an earthquake. Then, we could tear the paper towel sheets off to see what the results looked like. It worked :)!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I'm So Jealous!

My sister, Vicki, saw the Space Shuttle Discovery fly over yesterday on its way to Cape Canaveral! Her son called her from school where the students were all allowed to go outside to watch it fly over. She lives in north Louisiana, so it was amazing when, approximately 15 minutes later, we watched Discovery land in Florida.
She said that it was a small figure in the sky, but that at one point she could make out the shape of it. It was moving extremely fast, so she couldn't see it for long. Wow!!! I would have never missed that had I known it was going to fly right over her..we would have been there!! If I were granted 3 wishes, one of them would certainly be to go into space. "sigh" A girl can dream!!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Our First Origami Designs

In our study of Japan, the kids and I attempted origami for the first time. I think we did a pretty good job on our little penguins....I know we enjoyed it!! Madison's ready to find some more patterns to try.