Thank You, Mo Willems

I am sitting at my desk with tears streaming down my face.  A while ago I noticed a new Mo Willems book was coming out in May.  I had planned to order it for my son because Elephant and Piggie have been his pals through his reading struggles. Dyslexia is hard and Elephant and Piggie made it less hard.  But I hadn’t gotten around to ordering it yet.

I realized today that this new book is, in fact, the LAST book of 25.  I get it.  Mr. Willems is ready for a new adventure.  But man, when I heard that news it made me sad and thankful at the same time.  These books will forever hold a dear place in my heart because they brought joy to a reader who was struggling.

Thanks for 25 hilarious adventures with Elephant and Piggie.  Thanks for making reading fun for a kid who didn’t think it fun at all.  Enjoy your new adventure!

Our new book will be here Monday!



The Mayflower

Today we talked about the Mayflower and the voyage the Pilgrims made to a new land.  They left behind everything familiar to them to sail across the ocean and make a new beginning.  It was not an easy journey and there were a lot of casualties.  Not every decision they made was perfect, but they were a community that worked together to start a new life.  They built homes, grew crops, lived life, and worshipped God together.  They could have given up and gone back to England; but in the midst of their trial they stood their ground.  Eventually, more people followed them to America and our great nation was founded.

Our founders weren’t perfect, just as we are not perfect.  No elected official can ever be enough.  No elected official can ever fix all the problems.  No elected official can ever heal all the hurting.   Only Almighty God can fix all that is broken.  God is on His throne.  He continues to reign.  We must pray!  We must take a stand for what is right, and holy, and true!  We must teach our children as we sit at home, and as we walk, and as we lie down so that God’s words will be life giving to their souls.

The pilgrims made the best of their situation and continued to put God first.  May we put God first in every season as we seek His heart for our nation.

Week 1 – Done!

Our 2012-2013 school year kicked off Monday, August 27.  Micah started fourth grade this year, which seems impossible.  Jonas started Kindergarten, which is also pretty tough to swallow. Before I know it they are going to be all grown up. I’m trying to savor every moment of them being children.

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We have had a great week.  We worked through everything that I had planned, we are all still talking to each other, and we even had fun!  This week Jonas mastered counting by 10’s to 100.  He was pretty proud of this accomplishment. He also worked on writing and reading.

This week Micah realized that fourth grade means working more independently. Logic and Science are still his favorite things.  Today we talked about “air” and did some fun experiments to see that air does in fact take up space.  Micah has always liked school – thankfully that seems to remain true.

One more week before CC begins.  That will add a whole new dynamic to our day. For now we are off to a good start.  Praise God that he is at the center of all we do. There is no way this journey would be successful without him!



Making a Game of Reading

Jonas is a hoot.  He wants to read so badly he can’t stand it, but he doesn’t want to learn or use any of the rules we are practicing.  He’d rather look at the picture in the book and tell a story.  He’d rather guess that “man” is mad, or mall, or monster, or any “m” word really.  It’s like the rest of the letters don’t matter to him. Now, he’s only 4 1/2 so there is really no pressure as far as reading goes.  He’s got plenty of time.  But we did start working on it this year because he always wants to know what the words say.

In August I pulled out our Hooked on Phonics curriculum.  We used it for Micah and it worked brilliantly. Micah loves to follow rules, so he breezed through it. Jonas is a different story all together.  He is a very kinesthetic learner.  He likes a very hands on experience.  So we started using letter cards to practice word families.  That was better then just using the phonics book.  But that eventually wasn’t keeping him interested either.

So, today I thought we’d play a game with magnetic letters.  Make words on the magnet board as fast as possible.  His letters started zooming all over that board.  They weren’t making words, they were telling stories. The “m” zoomed around and landed in a small village, etc.  So I said I’m going to draw a letter machine and you have to use your letters to make words so the machine can run.  He got so excited he started jumping up and down.  He said “I want to actually write the letters.”

I drew a little machine and left special spots for 3 letters.  I’d tell him a word and he had to write the letters before I counted backwards from 10.  If he didn’t make it the machine would explode, but if he did he got to push the button on the machine and make the word pop out.  Mind you, this is ALL happening on a white board.  But you know what?  Today, Jonas was excited about reading.  Today, he jumped up and down and smiled from ear to ear because his machines worked time and again.  He even created his own machine drawings.

The top machine was the first one I drew, the bottom one he drew.  His machine was MUCH more exciting then mine!

Acids + Bases = Explosions

So today was science day.  I’ve gone back and forth with different science ideas over the past couple of years.  I think science is fascinating, but lets be honest it’s not my field of expertise.  The past few years we’ve used different resources and it’s worked out fine.  However, this year we are studying Chemistry and well, I just couldn’t explain a chemical reaction well enough to go it alone.  So this year I bought a science curriculum.

Here are the supplies we used today.

We started with a simple acid and base experiment.  Baking soda and vinegar – standard volcano ingredients.

So we added baking soda and vingar to a cup.  And we got some bubbles.  My boys weren’t too impressed.  So we did it again but tripled the amounts of our ingredients.

They thought the overflowing cup was much more exciting.  However, we opted to go for the gusto – bring on the diet coke and mentos!

We got the bottle prepped to drop in the mentos.  Now, we had to use 3 toothpicks instead of 1 because 1 wouldn’t keep the mentos from falling in.  We tested it before removing the lid 🙂  So we get it ready, the boys drop in the mentos, I get ready to pull out the toothpicks while they run away to stay dry and then well, science doesn’t always go as planned.

I did pull out the first toothpick, then the second and then, well it was all over.  We planned to take a picture of the fountain shooting up in the air.  I however, ended up with the fountain on my head.  That’s right!  The mentos fell in too soon and I couldn’t get out of the way.  The boys thought it was great.  I had pop on my hands, glasses, and hair.  They were all giggles.  I have no picture to prove it worked, but trust me it did.

He was standing over the bottle after it was done exploding, trying to make it go again.  He kept shaking it hoping that would make it work.  All in all, he learned what matter is, what can cause a chemical reaction and about acids and bases.  I’d say science was a success today.

We Are Buzzing Along

So a while ago my sister suggested I start a blog to tell my stories.  It seemed silly, because really who would want to read it.  But I signed up for one anyway and then never wrote a thing.  So, I’ve been thinking maybe this fall would be a good time to kick off my blog.  I’ll share some stories about my family, school, and projects I hope to do.  Really, just the journey we are on and where it takes us from time to time.

I love fall.  I know it’s not technically fall just yet, but it’s just around the corner. Today’s 95 degrees reminds me that summer isn’t quite over – I am however, counting the days.  I’m hoping for some slower, lazy days to come this fall.  Days to sit and read, play and just enjoy my family.

We are in full swing as far as school goes.  This year is 3rd grade and PreK for our kiddos.  Two boys – spunky and fun.  We homeschool and it’s a journey that is constantly evolving.  I love it!  Some days are more challenging then others, but overall it’s a grand adventure.

We are currently watching a caterpillar go through metamorphosis.  I have to say I’ve never seen a caterpillar eat before.  It is VERY noisy.  I think The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle does a great job describing it’s voracious hunger.  We could hear him eating away for 2 days, then all of a sudden today he’s hiding out under a branch with some silk wrapped around him.  Not sure how long the process will take, but we’re hoping for a successful result.