Fall Highlights, 2011

More than another month has sped by! I am still playing catch-up and wonder if I will ever feel as though I am on top of what is happening in school. I am constantly struggling with the “are we doing enough” question; between our being a slow-moving family in the morning, plus building in our music practicing first thing after breakfast, we aren’t starting academic work until close to 9:30-10 a.m. most days! I marvel at those homeschooling families that are done by noon. This will likely never be our experience!

“Anakin” (4th grade) will usually do a total of 3.5 hours of work, plus about an hour of reading time (combination of books related to our curent subjects and then children’s fiction.) Obi-Wan (1st grade) will finish his work earlier and be done within 2 to 2.5 hours, plus about 45 minutes of reading time and another 15 minutes of typing. This is less than what they would do at school, I know, although by the time you subtract lunch, recess, and all the moving around from class to class from a 6.5 hour school day we probably aren’t that far off. But this is one of the hard things about homeschooing, the constant worry and fear that we aren’t keeping up!

Then again, our kids have also had the pleasure of unique experiences that kids do not always have the chance to experience in school, such as visiting downtown Chicago to see their dad play in a live recital that was broadcast by the classical radio station…

Chicago Cultural Center, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert!


Proud of dad who did a great job!

…and also practicing their oral communication skills in front of an audience of 1,000 people, helping me speak at the annual Moody Bible Institute Missions Conference! They each shared their name, age, and what they loved about Moody. The students, in turn, loved them and gave them raucous applause!

We also had a fabulous time at the Field Museum in Chicago, checking out their Ancient Egypt exhibit which really brought to life everything we had been reading with regards to pyramids, mummies, and hieroglyphics. I don’t think I have ever appreciated an exhibit as much as I did this one!


Amazing mummies and hieroglyphics at the Field Museum!


Shadufs are more fun to see replicated in person than in a book! 


“Pyramid blocks are way heavier than they look!!!”

In addition to our continued focus on ancient worlds, Anakin has enjoyed his science activities about water and air (with the brothers occasionally joining in!)…

…and Obi-Wan has been focusing on the natural world. He has probably enjoyed the study about rivers the most, topped by a visit to the local river closest to our house with his little brother.

Last week we enjoyed an “Egyptian meal” with freshly-made pita bread (Obi-Wan helped to make it!), nuts and dried fruit, cucumbers and yogurt, and various cheeses. We discussed how lovely and refined our flour is compared to what the ancient Egyptians ate. Anakin shared that often the bread from that time had sand in it, which contributed to tooth decay for the people who lived back then! It’s funny the details that stick in the boys’ minds when they read!

Lastly, Anakin also began reading Exodus with a focus right now on the ten plagues on Egypt. To help them experience the second plague of frogs a little more vividly, I cut out a bunch of frogs from green cardstock paper, and snuck into the two older boys’ rooms while they were sleeping, then covered their beds with “frogs.”

The next morning, Anakin came running upstairs, having taped a bunch of frogs to his pajamas, and jumping up and down yelling, “Frogs! Frogs! I can’t get them off of me!!” Meanwhile, Obi-Wan was content to suffer with frogs in his mouth. =)

We may have our struggles and challenges, but overall, moments like these make it all worth it. =)

Happy fall!

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