Friday, March 25, 2011

Large numbers and ancestors

Friday at last.  A day of swimming lessons and a lighter day of schoolwork.  We try really hard to get the majority of our work done on Monday through Thursday so that Friday can be a more relaxed day.

So today, the boys only had a few review pages in their Math workbook.  We're using Singapore Math for that curriculum, and so far I'm really happy with it.  It teaches you a different way to think about numbers - less memorization, and more striving to truly understand.  The boys are currently learning fast mental calculation tricks.  Math was never my strong suit, but I always liked the basics.  I'm learning right along with them with these fun calculation tricks.  For instance, 349 - 98, you isolate 349, pull out 100 and 249, subtract 98 from the 100 you pulled out, getting 2.  Add 2 to 249 for an answer of 251.  Place values, which I remember as being very abstract to me when I was learning about them in third or fourth grade are concrete to them.  Maybe they take after their father.

Next week, we're doing something a bit different than our regular routine.  We're having whole days devoted to one subject.  Monday is Math day, so they will spend the day doing their Math workbook, completing an entire week.  Tuesday will be Writing/English day, Wednesday is History, and Thursday is geography.  They're looking forward to a change of pace.  Our spring break isn't until the following week - then we get 2 weeks off! - so this is a nice change of pace for our final week before that.

Sam and Caleb, their Math completed for the day, are busy designing a 30-story hotel that the "whole family!" can live in someday, "including all the ancestors!", according to Caleb.  Does he mean relatives?  Anyway, all of us, all the grandparents, and all the friends they could think of that could collaborate with them on inventing things, live in this place together and we don't even have to leave the building to see fireworks, because the twins, who will live in the spire at the top with their families, are in charge of shooting them off out the windows.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Come any closer and I'll blow the pyramid

Pharaoh goes Jedi

It was a good cake

Yesterday, Monday made an appearance for me again.  It was a LONG school day.  From 7:30 to about 3:30, I was coaching, prodding, and encouraging, and by 4:00 everyone was ready for a break.  I, uncharacteristically, decided on a treat of chocolate peanut butter cake - did you read that, "uncharacteristically"? - and took it on a plate, along with a refreshing glass of water, up to my blissful solitary confinement - my room.  Alone.  Just me, and no one else.  Me and my cake.  Life, at the moment, was good and about to get better with the first bite.

And as I was reaching for my book...

My entire piece of cake tumbled into my water glass.

Wah, wah, wah.....

Monday, March 21, 2011

Little Shaver

Isaac boasting an edible goatee.  Chocolate flavored, no less.  Don't be jealous.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Goggling at the table

Now that our bout with pink-eye is over, we can finally stop wearing our goggles to breakfast.

Gifts of a Friday

* Listening to my 6-year-old read to my 8 and 4-year-old in the car - he has amazing expression and inflection in his reading!

* Getting my children excited about checking out only "true" books at the library today.  They were afraid they wouldn't find anything that was interesting (that's only, like, animals and plants, Mom!), but we ended up coming home with more books than we've ever checked out before.

* Watching my 4-year-old do his version of the freestyle stroke at swimming lessons today - "rainbow arms".  Out of the 3 total students in his class, he was able to get his arms the furthest out of the water.

* Watching my 8 and 6-year-old, who look very much like twins because they're exactly the same height, and who have complementing jackets, push one stroller each with one of the twins in it, into the library.  We got more stares than usual and people were falling all over each other to open doors (and none were my children!).

* Enjoying being able to leave my window open longer than usual at the drive-through and sun my arm.

* Speaking of drive-through's - stopping at Culver's to pick up lunch for the crew because by the time we got out of the library, it was already 1:00.

* Seeing my 6-year-old agree to split a burger with no whining, because even though I ordered 3 kids burgers, we only received 2, so Caleb and Noah split one.  Caleb volunteered to take a half, even though he's usually the biggest eater.  And because we're focusing on the positive here, I won't mention the fit my 4-year-old threw over his (only) half of a burger.

* Listening to Sam's excitement after lunch as he exclaimed to Caleb that "now we get to read all afternoon!!"  (Have I mentioned that I love library day?)

* Explaining the Math lesson calmly to my receptive 2 oldest, having them understand it, understanding it myself, then correcting 2 pages of perfect answers from each of them!

* Getting to wear contacts again after almost a week of wearing glasses due to pink-eye recovery.

* Knowing it's Friday and that we have a fairly stress-free weekend ahead of us.

* Seeing my clean upstairs level and knowing I don't have to do it again for a couple of weeks, at least.

* Hearing....nothing!! the moment....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Holy Days

So, right now I'm immersed in study of the biblical holidays.  They are so different from American holidays.  Do you know why?  Here's the main reason:

Our "holidays" are me-centered, or children-centered, and the biblical holidays, which are still celebrated today in Jewish culture, are God-centered.

Think about it:
birthdays: while not an actual holiday, birthdays get a lot of attention in our culture, and obviously, the recipient is the focus

Valentine's day: children-centered (or candy-centered)

Christmas: well, we like to think, as Christians, that it is Jesus-centered, but it really turns out to be me-centered or children-centered (candy-centered)

Easter: see Christmas - children-centered (candy-centered)

July 4th and Presidents Day - here, we celebrate our founding fathers, our country's freedom, our leaders.

So, like I said, God, although He may be a part of some of these, is not really the center, not in our culture.

What a blessing we're missing out on, what understanding we're forfeiting, when we're content to let these biblical celebrations be bygones.  The Old Testament way.  Discarded and forgotten.  Like taking a fill-in-the-blank quiz, answering all the questions with `Jesus' and erasing the rest of the statement.  `Jesus' is The Great Answer, but if you know the rest of the statement, what richness colors your faith!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Leg bone connected to the...

When things are going well at home in terms of having the younger ones occupied and happy, I really love schooling my older boys.  We recently switched curriculums in Science, and we're currently studying the body.  I'm learning things I was probably taught twenty-five years ago (yikes!!) but now I'm really learning it and having fun teaching it.

The other day, we were discussing the femur and why God made it the biggest bone in our bodies.  I tried to prompt Caleb with, "What's carried on top of your legs?"


Well, yes, the femur is very handy in carrying pants around.  I'd never thought of it before.