Greatly Blessed

Greatly Blessed

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Daughter's Dream book review and #giveaway


My only complaint about A Daughter's Dream is that it wasn't longer!  I picked up this book to take with me when I knew I would have to wait at an appointment.  I ended up reading during nap time and at bedtime in order to finish it in a single day.

A Daughter's Dream is the second book in The Charmed Amish Life series.  I reviewed A Son's Vow a few months ago, and it was nice to see many of the same characters, as well as meet some new ones.  I was surprised that this book did not follow the couple that I assumed would be the next book at the end of A Son's Vow.  Instead, we meet Jacob, who is not only new to Charm, but new to parenting, as well, as he's just taken on his 13 year old niece after the death of her parents.  Jacob meets Rebecca, who is one of two younger sisters of Lucas, who we got to know in A Son's Vow.

Author Shelley Shepard Gray made me chuckle in some parts, like when the schoolteacher tells Jacob that his niece is gifted and he replies, "I've always thought being smart was a gut thing."  Clearly, he expected the teacher to tell him Lilly was in some sort of trouble when she asked to meet with him.  She also threw out a zinger that made me really think in another part:  It was so easy to think that each day was going to be like the one before and the next one, too.  Before you knew it, another week had passed, then a month.  And if you weren't careful, you would have nothing to show for it.  Ouch.

Lilly settles into her new life with relative ease, and makes friends (both male and female) at school, and even with her tutor from the (non-Amish) high school.

I enjoyed Rebecca and Jacob getting to know each other in this book, and the teaser for the next book, A Sister's Wish, makes me anxious to read that one, too, when it comes out in September.


Would you like to win a copy of A Daughter's Dream??  Click the photo above to enter!



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Monday, May 30, 2016

Curriculum Choices - What's The Plan For Next Year?


Next school year, we'll have 2 high schoolers, a middle schooler, a 4th grader, and a 1st grader.

Brianna and Eli will continue to attend private school.  Jack, Hannah, and Katie will continue to homeschool.  This may be the first year in a while that we've had no major changes in The Plan.

Katie's plan will hinge on how much we finish up this summer.  Jack and Hannah are off to camp soon, so I'm planning to work intensively with her while they are gone.  She needs to finish up Spelling You See A and Math U See Primer from this year before going into next year's books.


Math:
Jack - Math U See Pre Algebra
Hannah - Arithmetic 4 (A Beka)
Katie - Math U See Alpha
Also online math programs.  Jack and Katie are still working on XtraMath.  Hannah has finished and is working on another program now.

Spelling:
Spelling You See for all!  Level B for Katie, and E for Jack and Hannah.

Language Arts:
Jack and Hannah:  Logic of English Essentials and Memoria Literature
Katie:  Reason for Handwriting A, Blue Manor
All: variety of copywork tied to what we're learning in other subjects.

Science:
Jack & Hannah:  We're planning a "hands on" science this year.  I hope to use up all the science kits I bought with good intentions and never opened.
Katie:  Science PACES from School of Tomorrow.  These are workbooks act as "readers" with comprehension questions on science topics.

History:
Jack and Hannah:  one semester of Our Golden California and one semester of "kits" from History Unboxed.
Katie:  Social Studies PACES (see above)

Geography:
Katie:  Beginning Geography
Jack and Hannah:  Daily Geography
Also puzzles and games

Art:
Jack & Hannah:  Home Art Studio 4th grade DVD, ArtAchieve (review coming soon)
Katie:  Art Projects 1, and ARTistic Pursuits The Way They See It

That's The Plan at this point, anyway.  We'll probably change things up a little bit as we go, of course. I'm sure we'll come across review products and online resources that we want to try out.  But it's nice to have the foundations all set.  Like many moms at this time of the year, I'm both ready for this year to be over and excited for next year to start.  It doesn't make a lot of sense, does it?


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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Our School is Almost Over Week


Confession?  Some of these pictures are actually from last week.  They just didn't make it into the last weekly wrap up post.  So this one is a little image heavy.  If you missed it, we took a field trip to the County Fair on Thursday.


Hey, look!  I sewed!  These little star print waffle knit pajamas are for Luke.


Speaking of Lukey...


He found the texture on Annaliese's jacket collar fascinating.


Brianna had her last game of the soccer season.  They made it to the playoffs!


It was an intense game, but the other team beat us by one point.


Afterwards, we stopped on the way home for a little consolation lunch.  And some giggles.


Remember how last week the kids finger painted?  Here's another one of those early childhood activities:  play dough.  We're using the light weight Model Magic from Crayola because it's very easy to work with.


We tried the color diffusing paper again!  With liquid watercolors this time.  I got droppers out of our miscellaneous science kit leftovers box and let them go crazy.


Then we sprayed the paper with water to diffuse the colors.


The next day, when the diffused pages were nice and dry, we talked about the butterfly life cycle, and I had the kids draw butterflies while I was reading to them.  Then we folded our colorful diffused sheets in half and cut a B shape out of them.


With a pipe cleaner to hold the paper in place and to serve as antennae, we had beautiful, colorful butterflies!


The Kwik Stix made an appearance this week when the kids drew while I read to them.


We finished up learning about Napoleon, which inspired Jack's drawing.  The black spots are cannon balls.


A picture from last week that was on my phone.  Everybody had fun hanging out with Annaliese when she was here.


Swim banquet for Sam and Soccer banquet for Brianna have happened.  All the sports are wrapped up for the year now.  Whew!


Annaliese is still a little taller than Eli, but not much!  He's grown so much this year.


Bri was with her friend when they had a little fender bender.  Fortunately, they were in the neighborhood, so I hung out with them until the other mom could come and take over the details.  Even something scary or unpleasant can turn into a learning situation, and it was a good conversation starter for how to deal with an accident, even though Brianna isn't driving yet.

I had a little bit of a revelation when I realized that school doesn't have to be full blast educating until the last day and then stop! like turning off a tap.  I've relaxed a little.  There are going to be a few things that just don't get done.  I'm working on being okay with that.  This coming week is our last week of school, and it's really only 3 days, since Monday is a holiday, and Thursday is the last day of school.  Rather than focusing on "finishing strong" I'm going to try to "finish sane" this year.


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Friday, May 27, 2016

Field Trip: Sacramento County Fair


Although we don't do much with the local homeschool group, I am on the email list, and when the fair field trip comes up, I jump at the opportunity to get us in free.  If you want a peek back at previous trips, here's 2015 and 2013.


Like a good paranoid mama, I took pictures of each of the children before we went in, just in case we got separated.  I made the mistake of telling Jack to show me his "lost face."  Next, we applied sunscreen and got our group name tags (which included my phone number--again, just in case!).


We started off by going to see the wild animals, brought down by a rescue organization based near Portland, OR.  This tiger is 3 years old, and the man we talked to remembers bottle feeding it when it was just a kitten.


When we were looking at the wallaby, Katie saw the map and made sure to let me know that the wallaby was from Australia.

After the wild animals, we cruised through a vendor hall and some exhibits.  Katie tried to tell me the cakes were "not real."


Next we visited all the farm animals.  We got to pet bunnies.  I was hoping to run into another homeschooling mama whose kids were showing goats, but we didn't see them.


And chickens, too!  The chicken owner said she had just given it a bath, so her feathers were nice and soft.  I had no idea you could bathe a chicken!


We saw monster trucks.


I try to do the fair super cheap.  We get free admission and free parking passes as part of a homeschool group.  And we bring our own lunches, because it's cheaper than fair food.  Plus, the kids still think that Lunchables are a huge treat, anyway.


While we dined, we caught the Chinese acrobat show!


Katie and Hannah, watching the girls doing Chinese yo yo tricks.


I didn't get any pictures of the contortionist.  It kind of creeped me out to see someone's head on the ground, knees in the air, and feet beside their face.


Honestly, I thought last year's Chinese acrobat show was better, but it was still fun to watch.


Normally, we don't even do rides, but I heard about a Groupon when we signed up for our homeschool group trip, so I splurged on some cheap tickets.


First the girls did a couple kiddie rides.


Then we all went on the merry go round together.


Took a moment to teach the girls the proper way to mount a horse.


Jack was just delighted to be on the carousel.  I told him that after that we'd go find the more exciting rides.


This looks exciting!


I thought it just spun around.  When it started going up on one side, I wondered if he was freaking out up there, but he liked it.


Katie and Jack went on the swings next.


Which was fun, until the ride stopped working and they just sort of hung there for a while before one of the staff hit some emergency button that lowered the swings all the way to the ground.


We all went on the Ferris wheel together.  Hannah doesn't like heights, but she did fine with this.


This one?  Not fine.  When Jack walked up to the ticket guy, he said, "No single riders."  So I asked Hannah, "Do you want to go on with Jack?"  She went, but the guy ended up stopping the ride to let them off and then starting it back up again for everyone else.


We all went down the medium sized wavy slide.  That was another one that Hannah was not crazy about.  But she liked the bees and the jeeps and the motorcycles.


It was getting pretty warm, so we walked through one of the buildings and I got the kids souvenier water bottles to enjoy on the ride home.  All in all, it was a really nice day!


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