Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's that time again.....

Just when I begin to feel at home somewhere, set down my roots, find good friends, and really start to sit back and enjoy my surroundings......

This comes.
The List.

And somehow, my husband and I are supposed to look at and prioritize this list of locations, and fill out a dream sheet. Yeah, this is how the Coast Guard helps you feel like you are in control of your own letting you choose from a list and selecting where you want to go...when in actually, it's the Coast Guard that has the final say so. We HAVE TO go where they tell us to.

It seems so surreal.....3 little sheets of paper representing an entire uprooting of a family, packing up of boxes, and relocating to an entirely different part of the country. It's so difficult to look at a couple of sheets of paper, and know absolutely nothing about a don't know anything about the people, the churches, the climate, the shopping, the homeschool groups, or what the future holds for you....yet you have to look at this list and go "Uh....yeah....that place looks good. Lets go there!"

If history repeats itself, we won't get most of these locations on this list. During our last transfer, none of our picks were a match for the detailer, so the detailer issued us a secondary list, and we put this place at the very bottom. Louisiana was the last place on earth that we wanted to go. Yet we ended up here anyhow. It's a good thing that God was looking out for our best interest and He knew exactly where to send us....otherwise, we would have ended up....well, anywhere but here!

I wish we could just fast forward to God's selection and just know where we were going.

Maybe if I post the list on a dart board and throw darts at it.....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Inuit carving....

Every other week in My Father's World, we explore a new country. We have already studied the United States and Mexico. This week, we are discovering Canada. And as lovely as it would be to just hop in a car and drive to Canada, like we used to do when we lived in Minnesota, that simply cannot happen. So, we are left exploring these places by book and by project.

This week's project is from Global Art and we did Inuit Carvings. The Inuit live in within and near the Arctic, stretching from the northeastern tip of Russia, across Alaska and Northern Canada, to Greenland. The Inuit carve in materials they find in their own environment such as wood, bone, animal teeth, and Ivory. Today, we carved in soap...because, well, I love elephants and wouldn't want to de-tusk one for a homeschool project. So we picked Ivory soap...

The Big Apple chose to make a seal.She drew a picture on her soap with a pencil, took her soap out on the back patio and carefully started carving her piece.
It took several tries and several bars of soap to get a feel for how the soap was going to be carved. More than once she mentioned that her soap carving didn't look anything like a seal. But finally, she fashioned something that she was happy with.

Then, she used some water so smooth out some of the wrinkled bumpy parts. Then she presented me with the finished product and asked me to blog about it.
Isn't it cute?

Middle Apple on two wheels.....

In another attempt to update everyone with our lives great events, I couldn't possibly leave out this HUGE accomplishment.

The Middle Apple has finally abandoned her training wheels and has learned to ride a 2 wheeler.Those that know my daughter best, know that this is not just any ordinary task for her. For her whole life, The Middle Apple has struggled with processing issues and multitasking. She will continue to have to struggle with these issues for the rest of her life, actually. The process of riding a bicycle involves so many different components....balance, visual processing, concentration, gross motor, not to mention her total fear of scraped knees and her very literal mind. A friend of hers had made the mistake of telling her that she had better watch out, or her brains would splat all over the street. For The Middle Apple, everything is very black and white.....there is no gray. If you tell her her brains will splat all over the street, she doesn't think you are joking.....she really visualizes her brains scattered all over the road.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband arrived home with a new bike for the Big Apple, and remarked to the Middle Apple that she would get a brand new bike as soon as she learned to ride on 2 wheels. That statement was just what she needed to hear to put her fears aside and put a look of determination on her face.She grabbed her bike, drug it out to the curb. I asked her if she wanted help. She said, "Just hold the bike up so I can get on it. Then let go."

I did just as she asked. I helped her arrange the pedals, then she got on and pushed off. She made it all the way to the stop sign before she realized that I wasn't holding the bike. And that I wasn't chasing her either. I was too busy standing there wiping the tears out of my eyes. It was indeed, a priceless moment that I had prayed for quite some time. I couldn't be more proud.

A few days later, my husband kept true to his promise. He woke The Middle Apple up and told her to get dressed. He told her that just the two of them were going out on a date. First they would go out for a special celebration breakfast, and then he would take her to town to buy that new bike he had promised her. I swear, the child's feet weren't touching the ground as she skipped out of the house holding her Daddy's hand, and wearing whatever clothes came out of the drawer first.

She came home with a shiny purple, black, and white bike. And her favorite part....she proudly proclaimed, "Mama! It has a kick stand....and NO TRAINING WHEELS"

So proud of my girl.

Monday, September 20, 2010

On the First Day....

I can't say that there was a dramatic start to our school year this year. There wasn't anything dramatic about it at all. We had been doing "short school" all summer long, doing a great deal of math and all of our reading. But of course, it wasn't without all of the thrills that come along with homeschooling....."Box Day" happened, and we poured over our new texts and wondered just where our adventures in homeschooling would take us this year. Little did we know that our adventures would take us....Around the World.

We decided to continue using My Father's World this year, as it incorporates multilevel learning, and I can add or subtract lessons as necessary for my kids. Both of my kids loved it last year. This year, both girls would be moving onto MFW Exploring Countries and Cultures. On thing that I wanted to stress to my children, and one of the main reasons that I homeschool, is the fact that we, Christians, are not the only people on this earth. There are many other cultures of people groups out there that do not think and believe that we do. I believe that My Father's World does an excellent job of exploring those people groups.

So I set up our hallway (ahem....Classroom!) accordingly...with big maps, a large calendar on the door, and tweeked some things. Last year, I had one small bucket hung on the wall by each desk to hold pencils, crayons, and markers. I quickly found out that one bucket wasn't going to cut it. I found these great organizing buckets at IKEA, and had my dad install them while he was here. I added an extra white board, so that there would be one over each desk, and a desk lamp for each girl to on overcast days, the sunshine doesn't come pouring into the front door like we like it to.

Yes, I know that The Big Apple is in her pajamas in this picture. And she's probably going to kill me in a couple of years when I show her boyfriend what she chose to wear to the First Day of School in the 3rd Grade. One of the reasons I love homeschooling? Every day can be pajama day, if you want to.
I also enhanced my reward system for the girls, and it's working out VERY well. For each subject that they do well, and in a timely manner, they are given a sticker for their lesson plan sheet. Each sticker is worth 5 minutes towards any screentime that they choose. 5 additional minutes is granted for chores done without complaint. Screen time includes Wii, a Netflix Movie, and playing Club Penguin on the computer. So far, this system has had the Apples working fairly hard, and asking for extra credit and extra chores as well. Of course, it also means that I have to give up my computer for a while every day. ugh.
We ditched Math U See, and brought in Horizons at each girl's grade level. We are so much happier with Horizons. Gone is the begrudging that used to surround math class. And we are working on such a variety of new things, that we can't help but like it. I am continuously amused and astounded at how quickly the Apples have picked up the concepts that are presented to them.

So far, we are enjoying our school year. There are some dry spots in the geography sections of MFW, and we sort of skim those just a bit, and other lessons I have to cut down to what I believe to be age appropriate for my kids. And then, of course, there are those days where school has to be tossed out the window...and learning takes flight outside of the textbook and the classroom. Truly, I believe it's those days my kids are going to remember....the days when mama said "Shut your books and put on your shoes. We need to go outside and breathe air for awhile!" And we do.
On the third day of school, there were just too many rainbows to chase. And trust me, childhood is much too short to miss a single rainbow. So we chase as many as we can.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I was told to update my blog....

It was a really great summer. great, I never bothered to blog much about it.

The other day, my friend Stephenie asked if I was still blogging. Um...yeah...I guess I am. Today, I am.

I haven't updated in forever. The summer kindof got away with us, and then school started. And by the end of the school day, there just isn't much left of me that I feel like sharing with the world. (Because the WHOLE WORLD is reading MY blog, right? What's that you say? It's not? Oh...well, then....I guess I'd better update for all 2 or 3 of you that do check my blog then. )

At this point, I'm not even sure HOW to update you all on our busy lives.

Perhaps a picture or a few to highlight the rest of our summer? Will that do?
We went to the spray park a lot this summer. The library was offering free passes for every 500 minutes read, and The Apple Dumplin's all thought this offer was too good to pass up. So we read. Alot. We were blessed to have my Geeya and nephew, The Cannon visit for a while this summer. Having them meant very busy days and fun nights!

After their visit, the girls and I high tailed it to Florida for some fun. Unfortunately, our adventures in Florida were filled with bad luck.....which involved jumping into a swimming pool with a brand new iphone in a pocket, trying to dry out said iphone, replacing said iphone, and never getting remotely close to another body of water for the remainder of the trip. Don't ask me how one goes to Florida in the heat of summer and NOT get wet. But we did. Oh...and at the end of our Florida adventure, the Little Apple had to go the the ER for an incident that involved a high velocity swing, The Big Apple, and a concrete floor. Thankfully enough, The Little Apple was fine, following a very costly CT scan, and now has a small dent on the other side of her head, matching the first one. (we might as well just make the poor girl wear a football helmet until she reaches puberty!)

My dad came back with us from Florida to stay for a week. Our luck changed. The girls had the chance to make some very special memories with their Peepaw. This particular picture was taken on a walk at the Bell Towers.
We took Peepaw with us up to Baton Rouge for the Hot Air Balloon Festival. It was gorgeous, as usual. The Little Apple, I think, was the most she sat perfectly still while the balloons inflated. "Balla-Moot!" (balloon!) she kept yelling and pointing!
This festival will probably always be one of my favorite things we ever did here in Louisiana.

Stay tuned.....I will blog another time about our first days of school!