Friday, July 27, 2012

This moment

Joining Amanda from SouleMama for
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Back to school: Week 1

Last night I prepared the children:  "As you know, we will have to start school tomorrow.  If we are going to have two summers this year, we will have to work a bit in this one.  Tomorrow we will get up at 7, be ready to start at 8... " and all of that, to make sure that they know what will happen.  They took it well.

It is very hot and humid now, not as hot as last year, thankfully, and I do not want to complain about the mosquitoes since the fact that they are here means that it has rained, but, well, they are everywhere, in swarms, at all hours. So it makes sense to spend these dog days of summer indoors, getting some work done.

This morning at 6:40am I was awakened by Melva, already fully dressed (she even brushed her hair), and for a moment I thought we were off to a good start.  But, she was holding the cat and waking me up to tell me that the cat caught a rabbit.  I did not believe her, since a rabbit is way to big for our cat, and sent her outside to go and look for the rabbit.  She found him cowering next to the house. He was fully grown, but injured, (not by our cat, but I guess that is why he could chase it), exhausted and very stressed.

Our class journal, dictated by Jean and written by me.
I went outside, wrapped the rabbit in a towel, put it in a pet carrier and carried it inside.  It looked as if a dog or Coyote injured its hind leg, where he had wounds, but other than that he was fine.

Recently Ginny's children rescued an opossum, so in a way I had some experience in these matters and knew what to do - I phoned the Wildlife Rescue Center.  We were welcome to drop our rabbit off any time between 9am and 4pm.

This on the day that I decided to stick to my schedule for once in my life.  I decided to finish Bible, Math and a bit of Language Arts before the first break at 10am, and then head out during the break, hoping to be back before the end of the second period after break (11:30am).  We made it back by 11:27.

Isn't he beautiful?  I am very glad we did this.  It is just a swamp rabbit, they are not endangered, but once you picked him up and felt his warm little body, you could not just let nature run its course.  I remember crying when I watched animal programs as a child - I cried when the lion caught the zebra, and I also cried when he did not, because then his babies would be hungry.  For once, I could interfere, and it only cost me 90 minutes.  And the $20 I donated just because I am so glad that they are there and I will never ever have to think about what to do with an injured animal.  At the rescue center they ensured the little ones that the rabbit will be fine, that they could treat him, and they invited us to phone them to find out how he was doing.
He likes to pose as if he is a cougar, but he is hardly any bigger than the rabbit, and the toothmarks were too big to be his.

And so the year has started.  I wanted to make a little list of what we are doing, since some may wonder and I might be a bit more accountable if I write down what I am planning.  This is not all that we will do, but it is the core:

Melva (11, 6th grade):
  • The Art of Problem Solving (math) and Alcumus
  • Writing with Structure and Style (Level B) by the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)
  • Fix-It! (grammar)
Jean (8, 3rd grade):
  • Singapore Math, 3A
  • Institute for Excellence in Writing:  PAL-R and PAL-W (I am still trying to find his level, he reads at his grade level but writing is still very hard.)
  • All About Spelling
  • Latin:  Artes Latinae (Computer based program, teaches classical Latin)
  • Real Science for Kids: Level I Chemistry
  • Story of the World (History)
  • Piano
  • Westminster Catechism

I try to involve the twins in as much as possible, and we all do the Linguistics through Poetry Memorization (also from IEW), but most of the time they just play.  They know their letters, shapes and colors, I try to get them to color and  draw but they are really not that interested at the moment.

For a while now we have had very strict screen time rules:  Only two screen days a week:  Tuesday and Thursday, and only after 3pm on those days.  Over the weekend we are more lenient.  Their favorite show is on Netflix:  Myth Busters.  I have difficulty teaching them anything new in science; they have seen every single episode.  Melva wants to restore old cars one day, so she loves to watch Wheeler Dealers, and they both love Top Gear.  As a bonus, it ensures that their more British sense of humor remains intact. (I am saying that tongue-in-cheek, dear Americans!)  The twins love Battle 360.  I know, it is not aimed a 4 year old audience, but they need material to re-enact with their own army men and whatever they can turn into battleships and carriers...

I hope that this year I can write more about what we do.  Our decision to homeschool was a lifestyle choice.  Melva was in a Classical Christian School, it was not that we were not happy with what they taught.  We just thought she could learn all that and more at home, in a shorter time.  We would then also be free to visit family during the school year.  I am not a homeschooling advocate, but I do think it is a very fulfilling occupation and not as difficult as many might think.  Jean's visual impairment (he has Achromatopsia and his best corrected vision is 20/200) was also a motivator, but even if he had perfect vision, I would have preferred to teach them at home.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Errant Socks

Things have been busy.  I ordered and received most of the home school curriculum, we went on another trip to the Frio, and we finalized our tickets to fly "home" at the end of November! Suddenly I had to book places to sleep, arrange with family to make sure we coordinate vacations, and hear from friends when we could visit, all in a very short space of time.

(We will be traveling from Johannesburg to the Cape, back up north through Tsumeb on to the Caprivi strip, and then hopefully have a chance to see the Victoria Falls and the Chobe National Park.  I know.  It is such a schlep to visit family).

I knit only a little bit with my Madelinetosh Sock yarn (I decided on a shawl), but it is just a garter triangle at the moment, so I decided to show this instead:

Melva is knitting a sock.  The child that knew where her fossa poplitea was when she was 2, now knits socks with superfine yarn, using 5 double pointed needles and a cable needle.  And she taught herself how to do short rows too. Go figure.
While knitting, she is devouring all the books on knitting in our house, and there are a couple. Of dozens.
This week she read both the Mason-Dixon knitting books, and she has taken to the Yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee). 

I am reading Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin.  I am also trying to wrap my head around some of the material by the Institute for Excellence in Writing, before I embark on teaching my second language as a first language to my child who is knitting sock.

Later I might explain why I am reading Calvin, and this year I want to share more about our homeschool, but for today I am just squeezing this in between VBS and swimming lessons to join Ginny for yarn along.  Happy yarn along!