Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Thursday, August 21, 2014

School Days–Week 3


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While I have a quick minute, I wanted to share a few highlights from our third week of school at Arrow Academy…....

Ice cream was Lucy’s theme for the week. I prepared all kinds of ice cream activities for Lucy to do.  Her two favorites were shake-n-make ice cream and DIY puffy paint.

I’ve seen lots of instructions online for how to make your own ice cream in a can.  I thought it would be fun to give it a try and serve up fresh ice cream during poetry tea time.  We pulled out some empty coffee cans, milk, sugar, and rock salt and got to work.  Once the recipe was prepared, we dumped the mixture into our cans, and the kids got busy “churning” the cream by shaking it…

And shaking it….

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And shaking it….

After a good 10 minutes of shaking like crazy, the kids were pooped and freezing and only had cold milk show for all their work.

Not to be defeated, I pulled out the ice cream machine and poured our mixture into it; five minutes later we had homemade ice cream!  Next we set the table for tea time, and the kids nibbled on cookies and ice cream while I read to them.

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I thought it might be fun for Lucy to make her own puff paint and create some 3D ice cream art.  The puff paint is actually just a pancake batter, colored with food coloring, and “painted” onto heavy paper.  The magic happens when you microwave it!  Puff! Just like pancake.

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This activity made us all hungry, because it had our house smelling like breakfast.

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I also managed to incorporate a little ice cream fun into Lucy’s math lessons.  Here she is painting the correct number of scoops onto cones.  Since our study of Noah a couple of weeks ago, Lucy has been very concerned about the order of the colors of the rainbow.  Everything she paints or colors must be done in that order.

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A few things Lucy has been working on in arithmetic include counting by 10’s, greater than- and less than-, before and after, telling time to the nearest hour, and identifying numbers up to 50.

Lucy has also been working hard on her phonics and is sounding out bigger and bigger words every day.  Last week she read the word classic” on a Coke machine!  She’s already mastered all consonant and vowel sounds and has quickly breezed through her first chart of special sounds (-ck, tr-, st-, bl-, cl-, pl-, etc.)  At the rate she is going in her studies, I am considering starting her on first grade material sometime mid-year.

Our Mystery of History lessons this week focused on the ancient people of Sumer.  We learned that this early civilization was responsible for developing the first known written language – cuneiform.  The kids got a chance to try their hands at a simplified version of cuneiform.  First they rolled small tablets out of air-dry clay.  Then we made styluses from small twigs, and the kids “wrote” messages using cuneiform inspired symbols.

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Writing cuneiform was definitely a favorite activity of the week.

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I’m thrilled that Ty and Lucy are enjoying our new history curriculum so much.  We are all learning a lot about ancient civilizations.  It’s been very refreshing to break away from Christopher Columbus and friends for a while.

One other fun thing we did in history this week was build a model of a ziggurat using sugar cubes.  This activity tied in with two of our lessons – the Sumerian civilization and the Tower of Babel. 

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The sugar cube tower was definitely a lesson in the importance of verbal communication.  Ty and Lucy got to see firsthand how difficult it would have been to try to build something without being able to talk to one another.

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These two also got a lesson in cooperation.  This project began as I imagined it would – lots of arguing and fighting about who was gluing which cube where.  But to my surprise, as construction progressed, Ty and Lucy somehow ironed out their kinks and began working together. 

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Ty is having a terrific school year so far.  I can really tell he’s been trying hard to concentrate and get his work done in a timely manner.  I think he’s finally realized that the sooner he finishes his work, the sooner he’s free to be my little slave play.  He’s also complaining a lot less about his schoolwork this year.  I suspect this has something to do with our new curriculum.  Ty is particularly enjoying history and science.  He begs to start with those subjects everyday.

I am most surprised about Ty’s attitude toward writing and language this year.  He is really having fun with our new Brave Writer curriculum.  In the past, Ty always grumbled and complained when I asked him to write a paragraph.  But this year he actually asks me if he gets to write something each day.  As part of the Brave Writer lessons this month, Ty is experimenting with writing in code.  (Which, by the way, tied in perfectly with our study of cuneiform.)  I had him take the first two verses of Psalm 23 and rewrite them using symbols.  Ty did very well at this activity.  Not only did he come up with some good symbols for concrete words like Shepherd and waters, but he impressed me with his pictorial interpretations of abstract words like want and in.  I tell you, the boy may not be able to spell the word “cat” correctly, but he’s a wizard when it comes to expressing his thoughts and ideas through drawings.

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I feel so blessed that my “job” is to stay here with my monkeys and train them up in the Truth.  For all the days that I want to give up or feel that I could pull out all my hair, there’s still nothing else in the world that I would rather be doing!


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