Wednesday, March 19

Back In Full Force...

I am finally back, and ready to blog again. I apologize for the 3 mo. hiatus, but it couldn't be helped I'm afraid. Soon after Christmas, our computer started acting funny, doing weird things, etc. Our dear son, Skaterboy, and a friend tried to fix the computer, to no avail. Accidentally deleting XP altogether, making our computer completing non-functioning. Believing that this was the end for this computer, we had our sights on purchasing a new computer with our tax return. On a whim, we decided to take the pc to the computer store and see how much it would cost to reinstall XP, and fix all problems. This resulted in good news, as the total bill came to just under $140. This including the addition of AVG 7.5 virus protection, which is around $50 per year. This protection, we feel will be a good investment.

So, what have we been up to? Well, there really hasn't been an abundance of excitement here, in the past 3 months, I'm afraid. This is good, though. Last year was extremely busy, extremely stressful, and extremely exhausting. I'm up for a slow, peaceful year. The kids are doing great with their lessons. I finished reading Farmer Boy to the boys in late January, which they thoroughly enjoyed, I might add. They even asked if there were more books about Almanzo, and when I said yes, and did they want me to start the series of books where Laura meets Almanzo, and marries him, they decided that the rest of the books were more for girls, and not boys.

So, instead of continuing the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, we have decided to start an entirely new author, being that of Mark Twain. This author was my idea, as I had recently read an article in Family Fun magazine, about following in Twain's footsteps along the Mississippi, on the Illinois and Missouri sides. Being that this would be a great field trip for the boys, and not very far from home, I decided to start reading Huckleberry Finn to them, and then will continue on with Tom Sawyer, and some of his other writings. We have this trip planned for late April.

Our history lessons this year have been on World War II. This subject has enlightened us in so many ways. We have been working through a book we checked out from the library called World War II for kids. This can be found in the non-fiction section of the library. This book is great. Not only are there activities for the kids to do, but genuine letters written by GI's, Holocaust survivors, family members, former German soldiers, and the President of the United States. This gave us a real glimpse at what life was like back then. We created recruiting posters, ripped sheets for bandages, rolled bandages, took care of the wounded, cracked a code, made butter extender, and rationed food. This just to name a few. We also read The Upstairs Room. We have watched almost everything we can dvr off of the history channel that has to do with WWII. The old documentaries fascinate me. How opinionated we were about the Germans. Yes, Hitler was a bad, bad man. What we felt was so interesting however, was the distrust the rest of the world had for the German population, after the war. Many things we saw encouraged people to be fearful of Germans, expecting them to retaliate again. We learned about Rosie the Riveters, and excitedly found out that my grandma was a Rosie during the war. We also had the great opportunity to learn that my great uncle died during battle in WWII. My grandma gave us a photo of her brother in uniform, and a copy of the letter sent to my great-grandma telling of his death. How real something feels when your family is such a big part of it.
So we continue to work on WWII, until the end of May, when we will be traveling through Kentucky and Tennessee, visiting some of the WWII war memorials, and museums.

On another note, we celebrated Abraham Lincoln's birthday last month, by visiting his first courtroom, here in Lincoln. Because our town, Lincoln, is named after Abraham Lincoln, there are many activities annually surrounding Abe's life here in Illinois. It's funny that our house sits on and around Abe's old stomping ground. He probably fished across the road from us. Skaterboy dressed as Abe for the birthday party, along with other 4-Her's in the county, and performed a skit, taking us through the life of Abe. Can you believe he's 150 years old?

In Science we have been discussing a number of different things pertaining to physics. We constructed fixed and movable pulleys, studied combustion with the use of a pop can, by heating it on the stove with water in it, and then quickly putting it into cold water, studied clocks, and the possibilities of time travel. We had the privilege to watch the eclipse, which was very cool, and learn about why we have them. Honestly, I had never seen one before. I was so mesmerized by it, that I forgot to grab my camera, and when I ran inside the house to get it, much to my chagrin, it was gone. With the little ones, we have discussed the weather, and seasons mostly. We collected snow, on a very snowy day, We examined snowflakes on black cardstock, to see differences in shape and size. This month we will be talking about rain, and wind.

Skaterboy continues on with his algebra, and 9th grade English. He is also working through Karen Andreola's Story Starters, which I have mentioned before. This has been a great tool in unleashing the inner writer in him. He has come a long way.

Truthseeker has come a long way in becoming an emergent reader. He now knows all his beginning letter sounds, all middle vowels sounds, and most ending letter sounds. He is able to put 3 letter words together and read them. (short vowel sound.) He can read sight words: I, and, the, is, it, me, to, as, and have. I write little stories for him containing these words, and he is able to read and draw pictures to these stories. He is also able to read 4 little beginning reader books, that came with his curriculum. Truthseeker is a whiz at math, and is working quickly through his math book. He is learning also about the USA, and other countries. On Monday, we talked all about Ireland, as it was St. Patrick's Day, and learned why we honor this patron saint. In the past 3 months, we have also discussed St. Valentine, dental care, fire safety, and Creation.

Thumbody has learned all his colors, and most shapes. He can rote count to 14. He knows his ABC's and is starting to point out letters and sounds.

I have lots of photos to download, and will be posting them as I am able. I hope this makes up for the lack of photos that I mail to you. You may print out any photos that you wish to keep from this website.

This week we started talking about Easter, the Holiest of holidays. As we clean our house, and keep our focus on the cross, and the resurrection, we will be taking a break from our other subjects.

Easter Blessings to All!

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