We found our Term 2 groove this week. Yes, I realise that it’s week 6 (of 10) in the term and we’re only just finding our groove. I’m just thankful we found it at all.
* This week we’ve been dabbling with some Science activities. Here the boys were investigating gravity
and here they were working on centre of gravity.
* We finished reading several books this week. First, we finished “To the Moon and Back”. I highly recommend this book. It’s fabulous! There were facts in the book that my space-loving husband didn’t even know. If you ever want an Australian-flavoured book about space travel, this is the one you need.
We also wrapped up “Everyday Battles” by Bob Schultz. The epilogue was a bit of a bummer though. It describes the events surrounding the author’s death. That’s not the way we wanted to finish a book. Not to take anything away from the book though. All of Bob Schultz’s books have been excellent. They are aimed at boys and directing their walk into adulthood with God as their pilot.
We just finished reading “All About Captain Cook” today. It was also excellent. (Yep, everything we’ve read this week was excellent and recommended.) This book was an older title and I loved how it read. It told the life of James Cook in a different way from which I’m used to in modern books. This book made me ‘care’ about Cook in a way I never have.
* In the evenings, we’ve been watching “Alexander’s Lost World”. It took us six nights to finish it off. What did I learn while watching this dvd series – that I have absolutely no desire to travel to these locations and that my boys don’t know the story of Jason and the Argonauts. (Yes, I immediately jumped onto Bookdepository and ordered a book about Jason – any excuse is a good excuse for buying a book.)
* Now, in case you are starting to think that all we do all day is read books and watch documentaries (wouldn’t that be a lovely life!), here’s a glimpse at some of the other things we did this week in school: reviewed the US states, completed several Latin lessons, completed an economics lesson on video, completed a Logic lesson in “The Art of Argument”, completed a technology lesson in “The Art of Construction”, completed two Physics tasks plus reading (and set up the third ready for next week), completed a whole unit on Geometry, did copywork and spelling tasks every day, parsed and diagrammed sentences every day, worked on a persuasive essay about whether we should believe that man walked on the moon, continued to listen to the audio “1984”, read more of “Great Expectations”, began reading “A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk” and did plenty of our own reading. I also took one son to hubby’s school to help teach a computer programming class and we all spent an afternoon at the park with friends.
* When I’m not working side by side with my sons on Math or some other schooly thing, and if the house isn’t screaming my name and demanding attention, I can be found reading. This week, I finished reading, “Edge of Extinction”. I loved it and had to buy my own copy and the sequel (which I haven’t read yet). Middle schoolers will love this book. Yes, the covers look a little scary but it’s not that scary. Yes, there are some dinosaur related injuries, but, to be fair, there are a lot more dinosaurs being injured than humans. In case you were wondering, dinosaurs have been bought back to life (whose great idea was that?!!) and so humans have fled into the safety of underground compounds and have been living there for some time. However, a girl named Sky, leaves the compound and goes top-side to find her father and solve a mystery. It’s a thrilling read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My boys will love it.
“Unwind” is another book I finished recently. I really liked this book and plan to read the read of the series. I could see them making this series into movies (although I don’t think our twisted society will like the message). Now brace yourself for this plot outline. Abortion is illegal in this future society and life is protected…well, until a child turns 13. At that point, parents can choose to ‘unwind’ their child. Any reason is valid – disabilities, rebellion, or just don’t want the kid. The unwound’s body parts are then donated to those looking for ‘replacement parts’. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it. But it’s a very clever way of getting the reader to understand that, regardless of age, abortion is the murder of a child, no matter what lens you are looking through. The story follows a group of runaway ‘unwinds’ and those people who help them survive. The story isn’t gruesome but it does make you think.
I’ve also just finished reading “The Shadow of the Bear“. I loved it. It’s part of a series called ‘fairy tale novels’. But, don’t be deceived; these are no ordinary fairy tales. They have been modernised. Initially I didn’t think I’d like the books because of the modernising but it was such a crazy mix that it just worked. In the first book, Blanche and Rose are sisters who live with their mother in the Bronx in New York. One night a stranger helps their mother and they invite him into their apartment. Rose instantly makes the stranger, a young man named Bear, feel at home but Blanche is a lot more cautious and vaguely remembers seeing Bear at their school gate where the drug dealers hang out. Anyway the story goes on and there is some danger from their association with Bear but not in the way you might expect. Now, despite the dark, dangerous setting, complete with drugs and murders, the story is contains a good dose of innocence, which I think is what made me like it so much. None of the ugliness is described in great detail (we don’t need to get a clear imagine of what is happening) and Rose and Blanche are uncomfortable and wary of the things they should be. They care about modesty and purity and spend their time talking about poetry and literature. My favourite element of the books are some of the things that the characters talk about and say. Check out this quote from the first book:
“Art’s about truth,” said Bear, “Truth and beauty go together”…”Art’s almost always beautiful because beauty is truth,” Bear said.
or this one:
“C.S. Lewis had said something about true humility being the ability to rejoice in somebody else’s good fortune as if it were your own. So she took in the picture of her sister, with her smooth, shining hair, sparkling eyes, and slim figures, and sighing, counted it all joy.”
What’s not to like about books that include these kinds of discussions and ideas!
* This week, when we were over visiting my parents, we got the grand tour of the cubby house renovations. My two nieces spend a fair bit of time with grandma and grandad so the cubby was built with two little girls in mind. And it is AMAZING. Firstly, there’s a little bed that doubles as a storage box. And, since Missy 4 requested a door to ‘her bedroom,’ a curtain divider was installed.
The cubby’s window doubles as a store front. The window can be slid open to attend to your customers.
Now, this kitchen is the most deluxe cubby kitchen I have EVER seen. There’s plenty of storage above and below and even hooks for hanging your cups. There’s a space for the microwave, and under that there’s a built-in oven (complete with a timer that counts down – yes, it has digital numbers that count backwards!). Under the over is a built-in dishwasher (complete with buttons that turns on lights which are on a timer so you’ll know when your dishes are done). Oh and don’t forget the fridge under the stove (yes, a light turns on when you open the fridge door – I kid you not!!).
Check out the stove top! You press the black buttons on the front and it turns on lights, I mean the heating elements. How cool is that?!!!
Yes, that’s a blackboard for messages that you can see behind the kettle and toaster.
It’s simply amazing and all handmade by my father. (No, I didn’t have one when I was a kid. So technically this should be MY cubby house because my name was on the wishlist first but I don’t think I’ll win in a battle of wills with Missy 4 so I’ll let her and her sister have it.)
Here’s a picture of the outside of the cubby. (You can see my men in the reflection checking out the renovations. They were impressed and feel that playing with their little cousins just got a whole lot more interesting). Yes, the cubby exterior is set up as a shop. See the little spot for your cash register over on the left. Yep, my dad has thought of everything. Oh and in case you were wondering about how all of the electrics are powered in the cubby, there are solar panels on the roof. I mean, don’t all cubbies come with solar panels nowadays. 🙂
* Finally, this week, I Kon Mari-ed the boys’ clothes dresser. Everything is folded into a nice little parcel and stood on its end in the drawer. I love it. I Kon Mari-ed hubby’s dresser ages ago and he loved it. He can easily see all of the clothes he owns and make his selection. I love how much you can fit into the drawers using this method, how easy everything is to put away, and how easy it is to open and close the drawers now.
And yes, this is all of the summer and winter clothes that this one child owns (aside from his smalls, pjs, swimmers, two hanging button-up shirts and jumper). In fact, I could probably cut back on the jeans and shorts, but I like to have about one week’s worth in case I get behind in washing.
That’s it for another week folks. I wonder what next week will hold.