A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pioneer Day

We got the opportunity to go to Pioneer Day at the school the younger kids will be attending in the fall.  I thought this would be a fun way for them to dip their toes in and meet some of the other children there.

Jack, who is not keen on the idea of going to school, was less than thrilled.  But by the end of the day, he admitted that he had fun.

First there was a parade.  Almost every student and faculty member was dressed in period wear.  Lots of bonnets and cowboy hats, and even a coonskin cap!  Some of the classes sang songs from the pioneer era, and there were old time hymns playing as background music to later activities.  At one point, I started singing, and the kids whipped their heads around and said, "You know this song?"  I'm not sure whether they thought I was as old as the pioneers, or if they were just surprised I might know something they didn't.

Each of the classrooms had various "hands on" activities the kids could do, such as churning butter, tin punching, gold panning, etc.  I'm totally counting this as a history field trip.

They made Whirlygigs (buttons you spin on string) with the help of a couple older students.

And they got to write with quill and ink.

We've done feather writing at home before, but these were bigger, nicer feathers.

At the station where we learned about cattle branding, the kids got to "brand" sticks with stamps.

There were some missions on display, built by the 4th graders.  Also not pictured was the table where the kids got to plant cucumber seeds.  If the tomatoes (from Earth Day) and the cucumbers that the girls planted both grow, we'll have the makings of a great salad!

Katie participated in one of the races.  All 3 kids had fun playing on the playground, and throwing balls and messing with the lassos.  I got to see Hannah send a basketball soaring through the hoop!  I was so proud of her.

In short, a good time was had by all.  Jack and I came home a little sunburned, but it was worth it.  Note to self, it's now sunscreen season all the sudden!

I don't know if this is an annual event or not, but if it is, I'll have to make the girls costumes for the next one.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Our Earth Day Week

Last weekend was Earth Day, so we met up with friends at OSH for a kids' planting event.

The girls got to plant cute little tomato seedlings.

And decorate sticks to differentiate whose was whose.  Katie's plant took a spill before we even left the store, but I'm hopeful it will survive.

After planting the seedlings, we wandered around for a bit and picked up a few new plants for the front porch.  I'm not much of a gardener, so it was looking pretty grim again.  It was time to spruce it up a little.

Hannah colored a mermaid coloring page from Kidorable that matched her mermaid outfit!

I did some placement testing with Jack a while back and discovered some gaps in his knowledge in Math and English, so we're using a few PACEs (from www.schooloftomorrow.com) to address those holes as we get ready to wrap up our school year.  One of the reasons I like this is because he's scoring his own math and correcting his errors.

Miss Hannah drew a picture with our Kwik Stix of the billeting quarters we stayed at on the Marine base in San Diego.  I've talked before about how much we love Kwik Stix and Thin Stix, and now they're newly available at ToysRUs.com!  So convenient for those last minute birthday party gifts.

Miss Katie has finished Jolly Grammar!  She actually started the 4 book Jolly Literacy program last summer, so it took her right about a school year to do it.  This was a great fit for her, and I feel she really learned a lot from it.  She started the program basically knowing all her letters, and she's reading well now.

In honor of Earth Day, we did a craft.  I had the kids draw continent-ish shapes in black oil pastel on coffee filters.  Then they used liquid watercolors to color the land green and the water blue.

The next day (after the paint had dried) we used glue sticks to attach them to black construction paper, and silver sharpie to draw stars around their planets.  They copied a Bible verse about creation in cursive, and glued that to hang underneath the picture.  

We went to see Born In China, the Disney Nature Earth Day movie release for this year, with another homeschool family.  I've been calling it "the panda movie," but it was also about cranes, monkeys, and snow leopards.  Two movies in the theater in 2 weeks time is just crazy for me.  Prior to Beauty & the Beast, the last movie I saw in the theater was Narnia.  The first one.

Brianna is wearing glasses now.  Seeing the board at school is a good thing.

And Hannah has turned 10!  (We seem to have a problem with candles.  I should just buy half a dozen boxes next time I'm at the store.)

Buddy and Grandpagino sent a gift.  What is it?

It's a Boogie Board!  This will be great for car trips.

Several people have already taken turns drawing with it.  It's a little like the old fashioned Magna Doodle, only much more precise.

Hannah smashed the screen of her Leap Pad a while back when she kneeled on it with her prosthetic, not realizing it was there.  I thought about getting her another Leap Pad, but decided that 10 is kind of too old for that.  So we went with the pink kids version Kindle Fire.  Hopefully this one won't get left on the floor.

She likes all the game apps and things the can explore on it.  I like the extensive Parental Controls I have set up on it, and the No Questions Asked warranty against breakage.  Just in case.

In science this week, we pulled out the Fly With Me science kit again from Academics in a Box Inc.  This time, the kids used rubber bands and a propeller to create a helicopter that flew.

Only 5 weeks of school left!  I'm looking forward to summer, but I know in the fall I'll miss our time learning together.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Visit With Luke

We got to visit with Lukey, so I thought I would post a quick update on him.

Out of respect for Lukey's privacy, and that of his new adoptive family, I will not be answering questions, but I can say, he is doing quite well in his new home.

His new parents have both worked with individuals with special needs in a professional capacity, and that experience has really benefited Luke.  His new mama was able to request medication that has helped mellow out his constant screaming and self-injurious behaviors.  I'm annoyed that his prior neurologist (here with us) made it sound like if we tried drugs to alleviate some of his more intense behaviors, he'd end up like a zombie in a stupor.  That hasn't been the case at all.  In fact, he's learning.

The very biggest change in Luke is that he walks holding a hand now!  We were led to believe that he would neither walk nor speak.  He's still non-verbal, but his new mama has high hopes for him in that area, too.

His new mama reports that he knows the daily routine and goes to his wheelchair when it's time to get ready for the school bus.

It was really good to get to spend some time with him.  I was reminded of all the little things that make Lukey unique, like his bruxism and his double tooth.  He was happy, sitting and feeling the grass with the back of his hand.

I appreciate everyone who prayed for Luke, and for our family, these past 3 years.  Those prayers are being answered, and I'm just so thrilled for him that he's learning and growing and flourishing.

While I wasn't able to be his forever mama, I'm grateful to have been a part of his story, and I'm blessed that his new mama is very open to continued contact.  I'm glad I can share such a happy update with long-time readers who were supportive of our family during the most difficult times.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Our Getting Back to Normal Week

Our week seems to always start with whatever photos didn't make it into last week's post.  Maybe it's because interesting things continue to happen on the weekends.

Prom dress shopping at the mall.  There was a big old line to see the Easter bunny on the other side of the cute little spring village.

Took Sam to get a haircut before he headed back to the Marine Corps.

Josiah was teaching Hannah how to do target practice with a Nerf gun.

Airport selfie.  I got a gate pass and went through security with him, so we got to hang out until his flight boarded.

It was nice to get the chance to talk, just the two of us.  I miss him like crazy.

His time home went by so fast!  Who knows how long it will be before he can visit again?

And then it was back to the grindstone.  We had 2 weeks off from school, between our trip and Spring Break and the airport, so it was a little hard to get back to our routine.  One day, I worked on school with Hannah and Jack, while Katie and Brayden played, and another day, I worked with Katie while Hannah and Jack played with Brayden.

Brayden's Spring Break was the week after Easter, instead of the week before, and he hung out here with us.

It wasn't until Friday that I managed to pull off an art project.  One of the blogs I follow recently did this project, and it looked simple and cute, so we gave it a try.

I love the way they turned out!  Liquid watercolor is so vibrant.

I'll have to try to remember this technique (black oil pastel & watercolor) for other motifs/themes.

Our trip to San Diego was fun, and having Sam home was wonderful, and having a break from school was good, but now it's time to sink back into our regular routine and get things done.  We have just 6 short weeks of school left, and I want to finish strong!

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