Friday, August 26, 2016

Weekly Wrap Up - The Grateful Week

Happy Friday everyone!   I hope you have all had a good week and will enjoy some downtime with your family over the weekend!

This past weekend was the girls' youth group's pool party.  This was Lindsey's first time attending, as she just moved into youth this month.   Before they left, I gave them all the reminder pep talks, "sunblock", "don't swim right after eating" and the like.  What I didn't think to tell them, was what to do in a water emergency.    Both girls can swim, but Lindsey is not a strong swimmer, or confident either.   The party was at a private home, that didn't have ropes to mark the shallow end from the deep end.   The group has gone there for years, and it never dawned on anyone to share with the new kids where those to areas of the pool meet.

You see where I'm going here, don't you?

Lindsey was standing in the shallow water, and took one more step, not knowing that she was standing on the edge of a 8 foot drop.   The suddenness of it all, combined with the deepness of the water sent her into a panic and she was immediately in trouble.   Olivia, who I've always taught to keep an eye on her sister, saw that Lindsey was in trouble and went in to get her.   Lindsey, still in a panic got her arms wrapped around Olivia...more like around Olivia's arms and neck, to where now, Lindsey was in trouble, and drowning her sister too.  Olivia's incredibly strong legs propelled both girls closer to the side of the pool, but  not close enough, as they continued to sink.   With one last thrust she was able to push herself up far enough to get one arm loose and out of the water, and thank God one of the other middle school girls stretched out from the side of the pool and caught Olivia by the arm and pulled both girls to safety.

You cannot imagine the amount of gratitude I have for that other child, and to God for His mercy
 and goodness in bringing my children home to me.  How horrifically different my life could be right now.   Never take your children's presence for granted.

This was our third week back to school and not a school book was opened.  Instead, both girls worked Monday, Tuesday and Friday providing childcare (and getting paid REALLY well) for those volunteering for our huge fall children's clothing consignment sale.   While that may not count as "educational" it really was, as they have learned to care for multiple age children at once, mastered their diaper changing skills and realized the gratification of receiving a paycheck at the end of a long week.   The goal was to work on school work Wednesday and Thursday, but between catching up on laundry and  grocery shopping it didn't happen.   We did however read through our vast pile of library books about the medieval times.

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Weekly Wrap Up - A Field Trip and Emergency Preparation

Happy Friday everyone!  Our second week back to school was really busy.   The girls' new contemporary dance class started this week, and we also had volleyball evaluations for both girls, and I found out I'm coaching one of the teams.   

Earlier in the year, I had organized and emergency preparedness class for local homeschoolers through The Red Cross.  The class was held this past Tuesday and we had a really good turnout.  The Red Cross does a program called the "Pillow Case Project" where they teach emergency preparedness based on the type of emergencies that are most prevalent in your area.   Since we aren't in tornado alley or prone to earth quakes or hurricanes, the biggest local disaster is house fires.  These kids were taught fire safety, what to do in case of a fire, and then worked on pillow cases to use in case of evacuation.   If this is something you're interested in facilitating in your area, contact your local Red Cross and ask about the "Pillow Case Project".

On Wednesday we headed out on our first field trip of the year.   We went to our local small airport and got a 2 hour tour.   In addition to seeing the operations of the airport, we also got to learn about the on site fire response system, watched the medivac helicopter land and refuel and even ended up getting to climb on board a $25,000,000 personal jet that landed.  It happened to belong to the president of a major corporation that has a local facility.  Once he was off the plane, the pilot motioned us over and let us take a look around.   VERY cool!

Interestingly enough, the plane in the photo below is the same as the one's used in the 9/11 terrorist attack at the Twin Towers.  It was really interesting to get to see this one up close and see what a large craft it is.  The size of the plane, combined with the 45,000 gallons of jet fuel that it  contains really helped everyone understand how this attack worked like it did.

Academics are going well.   Olivia is really enjoying her world geography and science curriculum this year.  Such a big improvement over last year's choice and her ensuing hatred of science.   She's actually working ahead this year!

We've already changed/added to Lindsey's science.   We're still working through the online Introductory Science, but we've also added Apologia Astronomy, and it's been really good so far!

We've had a few new product review items show up this week that we're really enjoying.  I'll be sharing more about those soon, but here's a sneak peek of one that we are LOVING!
I hope you've all had a great week!

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up!
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

FlipStir Puzzles (TOS Review)

Today's review item is the Solar System FlipStir Puzzle from Enlivenze LLC.   This is a fun puzzle that challenges the player's critical thinking, problem solving skills and patience.
In essence, the puzzle is encapsulated in a hard plastic tube.  Inside the tube is a metal rod with a paddle on the end of it.  You use the rod to push the puzzle pieces around to work the puzzle.   Sound confusing?   Maybe the photos will help.   Here's the tube, with the non assembled pieces, and you can see the little metal rod/paddle, right?

Here you see where the critical thinking, problem solving and patience come into play.

This is the final, solved puzzle.  Pretty cool huh?   (Except for the poor placement of that annoying sticker.)

The bottom of the tube has a picture of what the completed puzzle looks like, so if you don't know what order the planets go in, you can take a sneaky peek to make sure you're on the right track.   I still find if sad when I see the "new" solar system without Pluto, sniffle.

The two end pieces are flat on one side and curved on the other.   All the middle pieces are curved on both sides, and all the pieces have the exact same yeah, it is possible to put the puzzle together incorrectly.   Looking at that little photo I mentioned is very helpful the first few times you play it.

To play again, you simply shake the tube around, using the stick if necessary to separate the pieces.  You may think that once you've done the puzzle it'll be boring the next time.  Not so, as each time the pieces are in a different place and require the same amount of work as the first time.   The good news is that as you spend more time working with the FlipStir puzzles, you get quicker and your frustration level drops.   Then it's a simple matter of beating your best time, or the best time of a competitor.

This is a fun way to challenge yourself and your friends, and it's a great alternative to hand held electronic devices.  My only complaint is that using the little rod for long periods of time really causes my carpal tunnel to flare up.  This is no fault of the game or the designer, it's just something quirky with me. 

To read other TOS Crew member reviews, click here.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Weekly Wrap Up - Back to School

Olivia had a great time last week at the museum sleep over.   I was able to pilfer a few photos to share with you.  Here's the whole group, in front of the the English farm.   This is where the girls spent the night.  Those not in costume are teens who are assigned to either the Native American site, or the African site, neither of which have costumes due to the fact that those folks just really didn't wear a great deal back then, ahem.

Here are a few of the kids at the 1720's settlement working on the evening meal.   Olivia is the one in the green shirt on the left.

At church on Sunday, we had "promotion Sunday".   It's where the rising 6th graders officially move up to the youth group.   Lindsey is happy to be moving up, but was working in the nursery Sunday, so she will officially be in youth next week.   She's already marking her calendar for planned events, so I'm pretty sure she's excited, grins.

In preparation for the upcoming school week, and Lindsey's stepping into medieval history, we took a little field trip.   We visited the American Shakespeare Theatre and watched a live production of "Much Ado About Nothing" and   "King John".   Isn't the inside of the playhouse wonderful??

As of last week I was undecided as to when we were officially starting back to school.   On Saturday I made the executive decision to start back three days this week (Olivia is working at the museum the other 2 days).  We went with M/W/F for our first week.

Day 1 was a success!  We didn't work on Latin or spelling, but all of our other courses were on the agenda.   I was so happy to hear Olivia say that she really liked her science curriculum, and algebra went amazingly smooth.   Lindsey was ok with her heavier work load although she found her reading assignment of "Ivanhoe" and "Carry on Mr. Bowditch" a bit daunting.   Her computer science was a lot less involved than I'd anticipated, so we'll be adding something else.

Lastly, Olivia decided she no longer wanted blond hair, so we made a trip to Sally's and bought stuff.   Yes, stuff, because I know less than nothing about coloring hair.   Youtube is a great help though, so I knew to buy a protein filler and a golden brown.  Then I uttered a prayer that sounded like this "Dear God, PPPLEEEAAASSEEE don't let her end up with green hair!"    It turned our pretty good.  In fact, it turned out the exact same color as her sister's hair!

We've been getting up between 7-7:30 and heading to the gym.   I had thought this would throw our lessons behind, but I find that it's actually getting everyone's blood flowing and brains engaged, and our school work is going much quicker than in past years.

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up!

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5 Days of Homeschool 101 - Encouragement


Today's topic, in the 5 Days of Homeschooling 101 is encouragement.  Buckle up buttercup, we're going for a ride!

As you  know, all week we've been sharing the inside track to our lives.   Let me tell you a little secret. We've told you all the good things.   We've told you about out great curriculum choices, how well we plan and manage our homes and I'm sure you've swooned over some of the traditions various folks have shared.

What we haven't shared is that sometimes our curriculum just doesn't work, or the kids hate it.   We plan and get it everything scheduled only to have a family member call from 45 minutes away to say that while putting groceries in the car, they've locked themselves out of their car and can you please come (true story, happened this week, and she doesn't even LIVE with us).   We also didn't tell you that while we have a scheduled for laundry, and meals and shopping....sometimes we pull something out of the laundry basket to wear as we rush out the door to an appointment we forgot, and grab a burger off the $1 meal as we go.

Now, you may be wondering where the encouraging part of this post is, right?   Well, it's in the fact that none of our lives are perfect.  While you may think all the "super bloggers" or even the not so super bloggers, like me, have it all together while you're over there swimming in the sea of lost library books, mounds of laundry and a child who flat out refuses to memorize math facts..we don't.   We have all had epic failures, minor inconveniences and have all been in your shoes, some may still be there.   But regardless, take heart!

You have what it takes to do this!  You are enough. 
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