Thursday, August 13, 2009


So, we took a break from school and blogging and generally thinking too hard this summer. But, now we are back to school...and maybe back to thinking too hard. :)

For inquiring minds (and my personal record), here's what we are doing with our school year:

Evan is using a reading a variety of great literature, First Language Lessons, and Writing Strands, and Sequential Spelling.
Nicholas is reading a variety of great literature, First Language Lessons, and Writing With Ease,
and Spelling Workout.
Both will enjoy the Read Alouds through Sonlight.

Both are starting out with some major math drill in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
When I feel like they have their basic facts mastered, we'll continue on with Singapore Math. Evan is at level 4B and Nicholas is at level 2B.

We are spending our year in Medieval History in the Early Renaissance period from 400-1600.
We'll be reading some Shakespeare for kids, a kids version of the Canterbury tales, the Knights of the Round Table, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight among other things.
We are also focusing on mastering basic geography and geographical terms.

Evan is taking part in a co-op this year, learning Earth Science including space and weather.
Nicholas will be learning about Earth Science at home with lots of cool books and experiments.

Evan will be taking Art History and Technique at the co-op.
Nicholas will be using an art program called, "Artistic Pursuits."

Both boys are beginning piano lessons and basic music theory

Other stuff:
We are reading through the Bible each day and reading some fascinating stories in a book called, "Window on the World," about people around the world whose needs are not being met either spiritually or physically. We hope to put our knowledge and prayer into action in tangible service this year.
Evan will be in baseball this fall.
Nicholas will be in Tae Kwon Do.
Both will participate in a hiking co-op and monthly park day through the local homeschool group.

And what are the parents learning this year?

Jon is studying for the recertification test for his CCIE and pursuing another Cisco certification in the meantime. Ask him about it if you are interested in a highly technical conversation. :)
He's also continuing his guitar lessons.

I am working on my recertification as a doula through DONA.
I am also working on relearning the piano, one Green Day song at a time :)

Both of us are trying to train for a 10K in October. It will be the first race we will run together. We also continue to work on our rock climbing skills every Saturday.

Most importantly, we seek to build stronger community with the people around us, our "family" in Nicaragua, and the people we don't know yet. It is our intention to serve more, hang out with people more (dinner party anyone?), and become engaged more deeply in others' spiritual journeys.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day

Mother's day was a beautiful day. I was grateful to be able to celebrate the blessings God has given me in my three children. Through them, God has grown me in patience, selflessness, true joy, grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love. The kids made me cards and gave me new poles and a water filter for hiking. Now, I can really begin to train well for the 22-mile hike in Hawaii next summer....thus the reason I am carrying the baby on Mother's Day :)

We enjoyed a great hike at Raven's Rock on the Appalachian Trail. Here are some photos:

Big Truck Day

We checked out all of the city vehicles (sweepers, pavers, bobcats, recycling trucks, police cars, snow plows, diggers, and more) at the Herndon Big Trucks Day. Here are some photos from the day:

Monday, May 4, 2009

How Good Is Your Memory?

This week, we are talking about our senses. Today, we read about the nervous system. First we did a little memory experiment. The boys had two minutes to look at the tray below. I covered it, then they wrote down everything they could remember. Afterwards, we discussed strategies for helping our memory work more effectively.

Give yourself two minutes to study the picture below. Now close the window. How many objects did you remember?

Coloring Inside the Lines

Some might say coloring inside the lines is boring and limits one's creative spirit. While it is not exactly a necessary life skill to be able to color inside of lines, I had to post about Nicholas' coloring progression. Last year at this time, this sweet red-haired child of mine would whimper at the mention of a crayon, a "craft" project, writing task, or anything else which used his fine motor skills. Last week, in his free time, without prompting, he pulled a coloring book out of the drawer actually used it. When I looked at his work, I was stunned. Was this my child? Seriously. He colored the entire page....and inside the lines. That is what I call progress.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'm All Ears

Nicholas: I figured out how you can clean your ears.

Mom and Dad (thinking this will be good): Really, how?

Nicholas: Just put a thread on a needle with a kleenex and put it through one year and then pull it out the other.

Dad: There's just one problem with that, Nicholas. Your brain is in between your ears and it's not good for needles to go into your brain.

Nicholas: Oh.

Uncle Brent, what do you think? Have you ever used a kleenex on the end of a needle and thread on a patient?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Naked Sister (and brother) Band

I've been meaning to post this pic for a little while now. Today I finally have some time. Evan is learning the recorder this year. Sarah has found an interest in joining him. To prevent injury, the Easter bunny brought her a baby-size version of the recorder so that she can "practice" too. The picture is of her joining Evan with my recorder.