Greatly Blessed

Greatly Blessed

Friday, October 2, 2015

Our Week with a Birthday and a Fire Truck

Can't believe it's October already!  Pretty soon, we'll have beautiful autumn leaves to enjoy.

Little Miss Katie turned 5 this week.  She's had 3 birthdays with our family now.

She got new games for her Leap Pad, a bus (she's obsessed with buses), and a ride on toy.

That's a very teal smile you've got there, Katie!

In cased you missed it, Hannah has been working on learning Mandarin, and we have review up for Middlebury Interactive Languages up, if you're interested in online language programs.

We did an art project this week!  The first project on the Home Art Studio Third Grade DVD is a more complex color wheel than the ones we did last year.

We were instructed to cut them out and keep them handy to refer to in future projects.

We've been able to get more schooling done this week because a friend is helping out with the Little Ones during our school time so we can work without constant interruptions.

They will be moving on next week, so we'll push hard to catch up after they go.

Autumn Moon Festival (a Chinese holiday) happened.  Paul bought the girls some cute panda moon cakes.

Brianna snagged one to take to school.  She actually likes them.  I think she's the only one, lol.

I pulled out the autumn foamy beads for Katie to make a fall necklace.  Great fine motor practice.

The completed project.  She's also just started using the computer, now that she's 5!  She likes to hang out in the school room with us while we work.  I need to get better about setting her up with activities she can do.  Usually she's content to just read a book or do a puzzle.  If she gets bored, she'll wander off and play in her room or downstairs.  I had such high hopes of doing kindergarten with her this year, and so far, it's just not happening.  Maybe that will change after the Little Ones are gone.

In other news, Brianna and I went shopping a couple days and found her a dress for Homecoming!  Please note, that is not my baby on the floor.  He belongs to a friend who was over.

Zach has returned safely from the Middle East.  Brayden spent the day here while Zach and Heather moved.  They're on base now, which is nice for Zach from a commute perspective, but I will miss having them here in town with us.

Jack Jack has started reading for pleasure!  Folks, this is huge.  I've got a stash of new books to tempt him with, and he's actually enjoying it.  I'm so excited.  He's still not up to his grade level, but he's made significant progress in the last few weeks.  I can't wait to share with you next week the reading program he's been working on.

We played a Native American "twig toss" game.  You put your hands out, palms down, and your partner places 4 sticks across them.

Then you fling them up in the air and see how many you can catch.

Longtime readers may remember the top picture above.  Paul served on the apparatus committee a couple years ago and one of the new fire engines spent the night at our house on it's way to the city he works for.

Well, history repeated itself yesterday, when the new fire truck made a stop at our house for a couple of hours between servicing and going back to the department.  The kids were facing into the bright sun yesterday, so it's not a smiley picture, but it is all the same characters.

The fire truck completely dwarfs our house in the background.

Lukey looks like a baby in the giant fire truck, but he's getting big.  His belly pops out of his 4T shirts now.  I've been trying to get him to practice walking with Hannah's old walker that she used before she got her prosthetic, but his inclination is to lean back instead of forward, so I have to keep one hand on the front bar and one hand behind him, in case he lets go.

The Little Ones have gotten used to Luke.  Sometimes he will pick up something they've been playing with and there will be a scuffle, but for the most part, the coexist well.

Last week we were almost done with Week 3.  This week, we not only finished 3, we also finished Week 4, despite not getting any school done on the day Brayden was here.  This was the sixth week of school, so we're still 2 weeks behind, but I feel like we've stopped the bleeding at this point.

Jack and Hannah enjoyed the extra play time when we weren't working, and they've been real troopers about buckling down and getting back into it.  I haven't had any complaints, which is so nice.  We worked really hard one day, and when they started getting fidgety, I looked at the clock and realized it was noon already!  We got a lot done that morning.

We don't have all the pictures back from our photo shoot yet, but we did get this "preview" shot.  This is my "class" for the school year.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Moon Watching

Did you watch the lunar eclipse?  When we first went out, the moon was behind the clouds, and we couldn't see anything at all, but I sat and watched, and eventually, it showed up.

The kids came out sporadically to see what was happening.

It's always fun to get to hang out outside in the dark, right?  

We took some silly pictures.  Eli is about to pluck the moon from the sky and eat it.

A blurry Sam is holding the moon.

I played with the camera settings a little and got some interesting shots.  Some glowing red...

And other shots more monochrome looking.

Brianna "hearts" the moon.  We all wanted to turn off that street light.

As the kids came and went, I continued to take pictures every so often.

We ended up with a nice progression.

These gray moon shots are my favorite.

The glowing ones are not as nice.

The detail in the gray shots was a nice surprise.  Jack said it looked like there were roads on the moon.

So nice of nature to provide us with such a fun and interesting homeschool opportunity only a few months after we studied astronomy!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Middlebury Interactive Languages - Mandarin

Those of you who've been reading here for a while know that my heart wishes Hannah and Katie could have retained their native languages.  This review opportunity gave Hannah the chance to re-familiarize herself with some Mandarin.  One of the beautiful things about online learning is that parents do not need to speak the language their child is learning.  While China is dear to my heart, I know I will never be fluent in Mandarin or Cantonese.  However, that does not mean that my girls can't learn to speak passable Mandarin.  My hope is that when they are a bit older, I can take them to visit China.  I would love for them to be able to communicate while we are there.

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

We were given a six month access to Middlebury Interactive Languages for review purposes.  I chose to place her in Elementary Chinese 1: Grades K-2, the most basic of the options.  There are also Chinese courses for 3-5 grade, middle school, and level 1 and 2 high school courses.  Each level is a one semester course.

This online program is made up of videos and interactive computer games.  There are printables, as well as quizzes and section tests, to track progress.  It's user friendly, and easy to navigate, for both student and parent.

At any point, you can check their Grade Report to see how they're doing.  

And you can find out how they did on specific quizzes and tests, as well.  As you can see from Hannah's scores, she's not doing terrific at it, but honestly, that's okay with me.  My goal here is to provide familiarization, and Middlebury does that, and does it in a fun and engaging way.

You can see here, Hannah is listening carefully to a portion of a song in Chinese, which she then sings into the microphone.  We needed to purchase a microphone to use the program, but it was less than $10 bucks, and is easy to use, once I explained to Hannah that she had to make sure it was plugged in!  (She went through a lesson wondering why it wouldn't play back what she was saying into the microphone.)

Hannah looks forward to doing her Mandarin lesson each day, and often reminds me, "Mom, can I do my computer time now?"  When she reaches the end of the program, which is 35 lessons for this age group, I'm planning to have her go back and re-do the sections she did not score well on.  I think sometimes she went on to the next thing without clicking the button to record that she'd completed the activity.  Either way, the additional practice will be good for her.  Once she has mastered this course, I look forward to checking out the 3rd to 5th grade level so she can continue her learning.

You can connect with Middlebury Interactive Languages on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and G+.  Read what other families had to say about Middlebury's Spanish, Chinese, French and German language learning programs by clicking the box below:

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

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