Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Academy of Zion WEEK IN REVIEW Week Two

So, if you read my Truthful Tuesday post, you know I am challenging myself this week to keep my Week in Review short and sweet ... well, at least to the point, highlighting only the good stuff.  That will be very hard for me, the novel writer that I tend to be.  But, I will try.  Please remember that we do so much more than I could ever express here!  For more details, look to the pages across the top ... I'll add more as time permits ... maybe to cover each subject.  

We'll see.  

One thing's for sure ... the Three Rs tend to be boring, so we probably won't touch on that much.  I'm sure you don't really care about how many Phonics pages the Princess completed or which lesson we made it to in All About Spelling.  So, I'll try to keep those out.  

Here goes ...

The Fairy has now read 20 books this school year (you can see her list as it grows here).  She LOVES the Flicka, Ricka, Dicka books.  If you've never heard of them, you can check them out here.  I've added the set to her birthday wish list!  

She also loves the Mind Benders!  I "planned" for her to do maybe one or two per week, but the girl LOVES them.  She's been doing a few per DAY!  At that rate, we will definitely need the next book for her for Christmas!  :=) 

The Princess is still plugging away at her Bob Books and making progress.  For whatever reason, she is extremely shy about reading!  She wants it, she really does.  But, she refuses to read to Daddy.  Only Momma.  And, even then, she almost whispers and you can tell she is just SO embarrassed and nervous.  But, she is trying!  

She also loves to do her handwriting practice.  I know I said I wouldn't harp on the boring stuff, but I just have to share a little.  This year I decided to get her a basic handwriting workbook from the School Tools store, but it is Modern Manuscript, so it is almost "fancy".  It is perfect for my budding cursive writer ... she's been BEGGING for cursive, so she really likes this one.  And, she does it so beautifully ~ you should see her "k"!  

This week we learned some important lessons of love, kindness and forgiveness.  We talked about Jesus' ideas about living together in peace and harmony.  We talked about how Jesus said that we should love one another because God loves us.  We learned the parable of the shepherd and his sheep and talked about how it was told to show that God loves each one of us, just like the shepherd loved each one of his sheep.  We also talked about how Jesus said that we should love even those people who are different from us; how we are supposed to treat other people the way that we want to be treated.  We learned the story of the Good Samaritan.  Of course, both of my girls already knew this one WELL.  We've used it many times in our home to illustrate that God wants us to care for ALL people; that we are ALL "neighbors", regardless of our culture, race or religion.  It was really enjoyable for me as their mother to be able to impart the wisdom of Jesus' teachings on them!  And, for them to really get it!  

We read the cutest story in our studies this week about Jah's Creation (science).  

This book did such a good job of illustrating for a child how human beings ponder how we came to be.  Could it all have happened by accident or were we created exactly the way we are on purpose, for a purpose?  We thoroughly enjoyed this one!

We also spent some time outside discussing light and shadows this week.  We looked at the shadows that various items outside were creating as well as our own shadows.  We also spent some time sketching some items from nature and the shadows that they projected.  

Of course, in total Fairy fashion, the Nature Study led itself "off-topic" and into bug study!  

In history this week we read The Magic School Bus Shows and Tells:  A Book About Archaeology.

We also discussed the items we found in our own Archaeological dig the previous week and what those artifacts told us about the people who lived "there".  Then, we moved on in our book and learned about the earliest people.  We learned that nomads had to move from place to place whenever they had hunted all of the local game or eaten all of the local berries.  We learned about the Fertile Crescent (the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers) and how the nomads became the first farmers when they discovered that they could actually plant and grow things in this area and could raise livestock.  I had to do a bit of "editing" ... the book actually said that the people ate horses, but my little one LOVES horses, so that just would NOT have gone over well with her.  So, according to her, the early farmers ate cows.  After we learned about nomads and farmers and irrigation canals and the shadufs that they used to bring the water to the crops, we had fun reading a possible account of the very first dog.  Such a cute story!

At our homeschool co-op this week, the girls both enjoyed their PE classes and learning all about the difference between Baleen Whales and Toothed Whales.  We even had the pleasure of making whales out of clay (of course, both of them chose to make Dolphins ... which ARE whales).  The Princess learned about the American Flag in her Elementary Civics class and the Fairy learned about the artist Paul Klee ... and even made HER version of one of his pieces called "The Golden Fish" 
Leave it to her to be ORIGINAL and go against the grain!  ALL the other kids' pictures had pretty blue/green backgrounds (you know, for the ocean).  Not the Fairy.  She's GOT to do her own thing ... always!  And, I love it!  Notice the dolphin, sea turtle, octopus and jelly fish.  For other artists she has studied and her copies of their works, look for me to put a page at the top of my blog.  I'll get to it ... when time permits.  So far, she has already done a Van Gogh, a Matisse and now a Klee.  

We continued to listen to Bach during our written work this week.  The Princess still says that it reminds her of Mozart.  She thinks maybe they were friends.  Hey, at least she's getting a taste for classical music!  We've now added three CDs of Bach to our library.  We read Bach's Goldberg Variations and listened to a CD of the actual Goldberg Variations ...
In addition to the "work" of school, the girls decided to institute a Show and Tell at our school.  The Fairy showed us her Strawberry Shortcake doll and talked about how she couldn't figure out how I got it into the cart for her birthday right under her nose ... literally, since she smells so good!  
The Princess decided to show us her Silly Bands collection ...

 During their free time this week, the Fairy managed to build a zip-line in the back yard for her dolls.  Both girls had a ball giving their babies and horses rides down it!

The Fairy also decided to color and cut out some Greek paper dolls while the Princess colored, you guessed it, more HORSES!

On a tasty note, Momma made some raw "Hawaiian Pudding" (as the Fairy calls it) for snack and recess one day.  That sure made everyone's day! 

We finished off our week with a spontaneous little family vacation!  Aaaahhhhh ...

Always a ride at the Academy of Zion ...  

Truthful Tuesday ... Blah blah blah


Truth is, I just spent FOREVER trying to type up my Week in Review for last week.  

As it began to DRAG ON, I thought to myself, "These are MY children.  I care about this stuff probably more than anyone else could.  If this feels like it is dragging on to ME, what will my reader feel like?"  

I mean, I know my mom will always like to read it.  But, that's because she is very far away (physically), and she always wants to know what she's missing!  But, anyone else?  Do they care about all of the ins and outs of my homeschool?  Probably not very much.  Every little detail?  I don't think the world really cares (not that the WORLD is reading this, I do realize that, but you know what I mean).  

The issue is this:  We are not a workbook doing, test-taking, grading sort of homeschool.  We are influenced heavily by Charlotte Mason methods, which means that a lot our learning is not always "documented".  We learn by reading wonderful books and talking about them.  We learn by doing activities.  We learn in a hands-on way.  We don't do worksheets or spelling tests.  

MOMMA knows when they are learning based on the oral narrations that they give me.  It's always nice when an illustration or something written makes it into a notebook, but that doesn't happen all the time.  Sometimes, I can tell that it would LESSEN the learning if I stopped the flow of the cozy couch reading and narrations in order for them to make a "notebook entry".  

So, not everything makes it to "paper".  But, I DO want a record of what they do, what they learn, etc.  I don't have an excellent system for documenting it all here.  MOMMA knows what we're doing, but would the state if they asked?  

But, again, do I want to lose what few readers I may have by boring them to tears with all the details? 


I need to learn how to just HIGHLIGHT the good stuff in my Week in Review.  Maybe I'll make pages across the top or side with the details of what all we really do....  We'll see.  But, for now, I need to get some sort of Week in Review ready for last week so that I can move on to THIS week!  Always a learning experience, always a journey ...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Four days down ... a lifetime to go

So, today marks day four of exercising in the morning!  Go 'head, Momma.  Now, I won't lie and say I've really WANTED to do it each morning, but I DID it.  I'm so unbelievably thankful that God gave me the will to JUST DO IT on Monday morning, to then write out a plan about DOING IT and then gave me the courage to put it out there for all the world to see on Tuesday.  The key has been to NOT THINK ABOUT IT.  Just do it (as Nike says).  If I allow my brain to get involved, there is a very big likelihood that it won't happen.  Like this morning, when the alarm went off at 7:00 and I did NOT want to get up.  That part of myself (that drives me crazy) jumped right in and TRIED to talk me out of it.  "You've already done three days this week, you're fine."  Thankfully, the other part of my brain woke up just enough to tell HER to "shove it".  Against my will, I got up and JUST DID IT.  Now, I feel much better.  I know that I've "completed my plan" for the week.  I did the sculpting video on Monday and Wednesday (as planned) and did the core video on Tuesday and Thursday (as planned).  NOW, I can relax for a couple of days.  Well, as much as a stay-at-home, homeschooling Momma to two wild and crazy girls and wife to one wild and crazy husband CAN relax.  Now, I just need God to grant me the will to do it all again next week!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Time 4 Learning Disclosure

I’ve been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Truthful Tuesday ...

So, a good friend of mine started something last week called "Truthful Tuesday".  I don't know if it was her idea or if it came from other blogs, but that part is really not important.  What IS important is that we "bloggers" are truthful once in a while.  So often as mothers and women, we will read other women's accounts of their (supposed) daily lives and we will feel inferior, like we are not being enough of a "super-mom" to compare to others.  Well, in reality, I think that we are probably doing just fine and ARE measuring up to these other women, if only they would be totally truthful in their posts.  But, who does that?  I mean, really.  Do we really want to share with the world when we've had a day where we yelled more than we loved?  Do we really want to tell the world when there are dirty clothes piled up like a mountain to be climbed or our toilets need to be scrubbed?  Nope.  We like to share with the world all of the wonderful things that go on in our lives, even if they are sometimes only in our imaginations.  Well, the end result of woman after woman doing such a thing is that only HALF of the picture is portrayed and then we women (like we ALWAYS do) end up comparing ourselves to HALF truths.  So, that being said, I am going to join ranks with other "Truthful Tuesday" moms and tell you the TRUTH.  

This week's topic ~ are you ready for it?  Truth be told, although I LOVE fall weather and usually am counting down the days to jeans and long sleeve tees and hoodies, this year I am dreading it.  You want to know why?  Because I cannot fit into any of my jeans.  There.  I said it.  

I have a daily struggle of getting dressed.  Not because I am depressed and don't WANT to get dressed, but because I CAN'T get dressed.  For whatever reason, be it my thirties, eating too many calories, not moving enough, stress, genetics ... who cares the reason, whatever the reason, I have steadily gained weight over the past four years.  At this moment, I cannot get into any of my jeans and don't like the way I look in any of my clothes.  I cannot afford to buy new, BIGGER clothes, but is that really the point?  I mean, even if money were no big thing, who WANTS to go shopping for BIGGER sized clothing?  I know I sure don't.  And, would it even matter?  Would I suddenly find my reflection in the mirror sexy or beautiful again?  I think not.  

Now, I try desperately to live a conscious, mindful and purposeful life.  I try to instill the most righteous values in my children.  I try always to be thankful for what I DO have rather than ever complain about what I do not have.  With all of that in mind, I want so badly to be able to say to myself "Be thankful that you HAVE food to eat", and for that to make it all okay.  I mean, really.  How can I possibly be complaining about eating TOO MUCH when there are mothers who will not be able to feed their children today?  I want more than anything to not have a vain bone in my body.  I know in my heart of hearts that vanity is of no importance whatsoever.  I know in my soul that what we do for others, how we love, how we mold our children, the way we take care of our families, the way that we glorify God in all of these actions, the person that we are at our CORE is what is most important.  I do know that.  But, somehow, it just doesn't help the weight to be okay.  I guess the almost 34 years of socialization in today's culture and society has taken its toll on me.  No matter how hard I try to convince myself otherwise, somehow I still measure my self worth in pounds.  This is something that I want to change.  This is something that I will work on.  I WILL learn to measure my self worth in deeds and love rather than pant size and scale numbers.  But ... in the mean time, I WILL do something about the jean size and the scale numbers!  From here on out, I give YOU permission to HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE!  Pester the heck out of me about whether or not I've been watching my serving sizes or whether or not I've exercised.  Please, help me on this journey ....

There you have it ~ the TRUTH is I've gotten fat.  Whew.  Did I really just say that "out loud"?  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Academy of Zion ~ Week in Review ~ Week One

After tons of planning and getting everything just right, God decided that the first lesson of the 2010-2011 school year at the Academy of Zion should be for Momma ~ a lesson in flexibility and patience.  He decided that before I get into teaching the girls about Ancient Egypt or baleen whales, before I teach the Princess how to read or the Fairy how to spell compound words, that I needed to be reminded that Home schooling is about more than just the Three Rs and History ~ it is about family, compassion, love and the freedom to be flexible and patient.  

Just like in any new-to-homeschooling family, the week began with a Momma who was nervous about exactly how things would play out.  It began with a Momma who half-contemplated waiting "just one more day" to get things just a little more organized.

After getting my nerves in check, we dove right in.  We had a wonderful first day of school.  We took a leisurely family walk with the dogs.  The Princess and the Fairy both completed "All About Me" pages, complete with adorable self portraits.  They enjoyed some time on our tire swing and on their scooters.  After our break, the three of us put on our aprons and baked some delicious Raisin bread.  We took a tour of our "school" ~ discovered all of our notebooks and supplies, discussed our schedule and how things would go this year, learned the expectations for each of us.  We even completed several Mind benders together ~ super fun brain puzzles!  After the basics, we got a little messy and had some fun painting (Momma discovered something new about herself ... more on this later).  And, finally, we headed over to the library to pick up more books for the coming weeks (Momma's been requesting TONS of books for all of the great things I have planned).  The first day was wonderful ~ it went at a comfortable pace, Momma wasn't stressed and the girls were excited to finally get this show on the road.  God blessed us with peace on day one.  

We were to get into our actual "lessons" after that leisurely first day, which we did.  I was happy to report that we had gotten to everything I'd wanted to on that second day (except for Math ... I know, I know, "math is so important" ... Hey, it was only day one, some schedule tweaking is always needed at the beginning of the year!).

Then, God decided it was time to teach Momma that lesson about flexibility and compassion.  Tuesday night, the Fairy started to feel bad and ended up going to bed with a fever.  By 1:30 am, she was in my bed, absolutely miserable and needing nothing but Momma's love.  Her fever was so high she was hallucinating "smoke" coming off of the blankets!  Needless to say, Momma and the Fairy got next to NO sleep that night.  So, day 3 began our lesson in patience.  Week one turned out to be a week of caring for a sick child and balancing that with the needs of a very active and NOT sick child.  It's now Saturday, and I think the Fairy is finally starting to feel a little better.  She did have a fever when I put her to bed last night, so she's certainly not at 100%, but she's doing better.  We'll spend the next two days getting rested and ready to hit it hard next week.  

I'm happy to say, though, that even with being sick we were able to get a LOT accomplished this week!  Let me break it down for you:
    I read A Lesson of Faith to the girls from the book Parables from Nature by Mrs. Alfred Gatty.  We also ended up reading Stellaluna this week.

The Three Rs
    The Fairy managed to read six books this week, even with her illness.  She's working on her 100 Book Challenge, which we hope to finish by the end of 2010.  She did review all of the basic phonograms with me in her Spelling class and even spent some time on her first sick day playing with our Word Builder tiles.  In addition to that, she completed two days worth of copywork and even sent a letter to her Nanu (all on her own).

    The Princess had a great week.  We evaluated which of the basic phonograms she already had mastered and which we might need to review a bit.  She made the letter "L" out of modeling clay, both capital and lower case.  Today she enjoyed making PINK (her favorite color) Mosaic letter "L"s and completed two pages of handwriting practice with the letter (you guessed it) "L".  On our sick day, she and I enjoyed a game of Go Fish using letter cards and emphasizing the sounds they make as we played.  She also read four BOB Books to me this week and completed four pages in her phonics workbook.  She is such a great student ~ she actually LIKES to do workbook stuff (though I don't include too much of that in my curriculum choices).  Like her sister, she chose to send a card to her Nanu as well.    

    This week we were lucky enough to do art two days!  This is quite an exciting thing in this house!  We painted our gifts for the girls' Nanu and Gammy this week, and on Thursday the girls made Rasta T-Shirts for Daddy's birthday.  Unfortunately, we did not make it to our homeschool co-op due to illness, so the Fairy did not get to make African masks this week.  That's ok, though, I told her we could make some at home when we study Ancient Africa in December.

Spiritual Lessons
    This week we discussed the many paths to God and drew a picture narration of what we learned for our Spiritual Lessons notebooks.  Momma broke out this awesome shell we have from Daddy's young days in Hawaii.  We pretended it was a mountain and explored the multiple routes one might be able to take to the top.  We discussed how this could be used as a metaphor for ways to get close to God.  We talked about how one could choose any one of the paths to get to the "top" and that no one path was more "right" or "wrong" than the other.  The girls really enjoyed this metaphor.  This year we will be learning the lessons of some of the greatest spiritual teachers ~ Jesus, the Buddha, Confucius and Lao Tzu. 

 Jah's Creation (Science)
    We didn't get too far into our science lessons yet this week.  I read the first chapter of Genesis to them as they colored pictures for the front of their notebooks.  We talked about how even though we now know that the earth is much older than 6,000 years and more than likely God didn't necessarily create the world in six DAYS, we still know that He DID create it.  We talked about how Genesis 1:29 supports our family's beliefs about being vegetarian; that God gave us the plants and the fruits for food.  Each of the girls narrated what they'd learned to me as I wrote down their words.  Very cute, by the way!  

 Ancient History
    This week we did manage to do MOST of what I had planned in our history studies.  We learned that there are two ways that we learn about history ~ Historians read documents, letters and journals to determine what happened in the past and Archaeologists dig up items from the past to learn about the people who lived there.  The Fairy was VERY good at her comprehension of what I had read to her ~ she answered every review question with complete accuracy and narrated back to me very well.  The Princess is young, I guess I will just leave it at that.  She will get there.  After our Story of the World (SOTW) reading, the Princess drew a picture narration for her notebook and the Fairy dictated a narration to me as I typed it out for her.  

    To really drive the idea home, we had a family archaeological dig on Friday.  Daddy and I buried several items in sand in a roasting pan.  Then, the girls made a grid with yarn that divided the dig into four equal sections.  The Princess dug sections C and D, while the Fairy dug sections A and B.  With each item they discovered, they brushed it off and "cataloged" it (the Princess drew a picture of it on her chart, the Fairy wrote down what she found).  It took longer than their attention spans might have liked, but it was a lot of fun.  Next week we will discuss what artifacts they dug up and what they taught them about the people who lived here.  

Composer Study 
    We will be studying Bach for the first six weeks of school.  This week we listened to Bach Orchestral Suites while we were completing some or our written work.  

    In addition to my plans, the Princess spent some time drawing horses this week and the Fairy made a doll out of fabric, cotton balls, a needle and thread.  Both girls also spent some time modeling with the clay this week and helping with Daddy's birthday decorations and "party" preparations.  They also watched the DVD for the book Stellaluna (multiple times) and learned all sorts of interesting things about bats.   And, of course, they've had their fair share of time out in nature, learning to appreciate God's beautiful creation!

All in all, I have to say that we had a very successful first week, especially considering the setbacks.  Please excuse the super long post ~ this blog will be for me to talk about lots of things, but these Week-in-Reviews will be a way for me to keep a record of all the things we do in school.  This is for friends and family who want to know what we're doing, for the state if I ever need to show proof that we've been doing something, but mostly for our family.  I want the girls to be able to look back at all the wonderful things they've learned and activities they've done as they get older.  I hope you enjoy reading about our journey down the narrow path ...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...