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

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Back to the Grind

Confession time.

As you may have figured out, I have had ZERO interest in blogging lately.  I don’t know what’s the matter with me.  I can’t stand the thought of sitting down in front of the computer, I haven’t been taking many pictures to share, and I have no ideas for what to blog about (other than school, of course).  I’ve actually had the thought to stop blogging all together, but I can’t do that.  Blogging is the only scrapbooking/journaling that I do, and I love going back through the years of posts (has it really been years??) and reading about my monkeys.  My how those kids have changed!  Believe it or not, Lucy was only a couple of months old when I started this blog.

So, anyway, I’ve managed to drag myself to my computer to share a little with y’all today.  Please pardon my apathy.  Hopefully, I’ll get my gusto back soon!

Things have finally settled back into a routine around here since the holidays.  I am so proud of my monkeys.  They have been super, terrific students since we resumed school.  I guess they really benefited from the Christmas break.  I know I did!  The monkeys have been finishing their schoolwork in record time each day (with little to no complaints, might I add).  Lucy has even been begging to do school on Saturdays.  Say what?!

Maybe the monkeys’ enthusiasm for school has something to do with my own renewed energy.  Yep, I admit, by the time November rolled around I was doing just enough to “get by.”  Since Christmas, I have been trying to step up my academic game.

One thing that my kids really seem to benefit from, not to mention enjoy tremendously, is having a weekly theme.  It means a little more prep work for me, but it’s totally worth it to see the kids excited about their school day.

One of our themes this month was celebrating the 100th day of school.  Woo hoo!  100 days!  We are well over the proverbial hump now!  Pinterest was a huge source of ideas for 100 day activities.  (Ever wonder how we survived before Pinterest?)

Lucy made this awesome 100 Day Crown complete with 100 stickers.

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Then the monkeys made 100 Day Hash by mixing up 10 pieces each of 10 different candies, cereals, etc.  Lucy was definitely the Gordon Ramsay of the kitchen this day.  Thankfully, Ty was good-natured about her tyrannical attitude and just tried to stay out of her way.

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Poor Lucy.  She was under the impression that the 100th day of school equaled the last day of school.  Not quite, sweet girl.  Eighty more school days to go!

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Last week in history we studied Aesop, so I decided to do an entire week of activities based on his fables.  It was a simple theme to carry out, since the animals in his stories lend themselves to so many activities.

After reading the Tortoise and the Hare we had a discussion about homonyms, antonyms, and synonyms.  Lucy put together these opposite pairs puzzles, while Ty worked on writing some confusing sentences using different pairs of homonyms.

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Then we managed to work in a little animal science with a discussion about the world’s fastest and slowest animals and a comparison between mammals and reptiles.

We also read the Lion and the Mouse.  While Ty worked on correcting grammar mistakes and identifying literary elements in the fable, Lucy honed her fine motor skills by making this fun lion craft.

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For the familiar story of the Ant and the Grasshopper, Lucy and I discussed the four seasons, and Ty re-wrote the fable in comic book form. 

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Later, Lucy cranked out some anthill artwork using her fingerprints.  This activity tied in perfectly with our science lesson for the week on the integumentary system, as it gave her the opportunity to examine  her fingerprints.

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Finally, a quick look at history before I let you go…

We are over half-way through our textbook now, and our timeline board is beginning to fill up.  We are really having to squeeze our figures closer together so we don’t run out of room in the end.  Lucy says our figures look like they are holding hands.

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Lately our history lessons have been focusing on the fall of Judah to the Babylonians.  I was able to find a great movie on Netflix entitled The Book of Daniel.  It was a wonderful supplement to our lessons, and the kids really enjoyed the movie.

We also talked some about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.  One thing we discussed during this lesson was that these were their Babylonian names.  Their original Hebrew names were different and had special meanings.  We then talked about the meanings of our own names, and the kids created artwork to go along with our discussion.

Ty, short for Tymothy, means “honoring God.”  He chose to work with sidewalk chalk.  Of course, he had to include an Angry Bird in his work.

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Lucy, meaning “light,” went the more traditional route with paper and markers.  She was thrilled when I explained to her that we named her Lucy to remind her that Jesus is the Light of the World.

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We also talked at length about Nebuchadnezzar II.  Quite a character that “Mr. Nezzar.”  After our studies, the kids did a little hands-on activity by building their own interpretation of his Hanging Gardens of Babylon using wooden blocks and other small items.  I think they did a great job!  Very creative, as always.

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I really hope these two will keep up the positive attitudes for the rest of the school year.  It makes my job so much easier when the monkeys are eager to learn.  And I am going to do my best to keep up my vigor too.  Truthfully, I think the monkeys are like mirrors, reflecting the enthusiasm they see in me, so maybe I can set a good example for them.  No more just “getting by.”


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