An Impromptu Art Lesson

My son has been taming a cat. Well, more an adorable fuzzy little ball of black fur kitten. He’s the runt of the country kittens living under our porch. And he’s not doing well. He’s being pushed out by the others and not allowed to feed. He’s learned to trust us, especially Luc, as we’ve tried to supplement him a bit food-wise. But he’s not gaining weight and he’s sick. It’s quickly turning into winter weather and I fear he isn’t going to make it.

Luc has become quite attached. He plays with him daily (don’t worry, we bought him a flea collar). The cat has come to trust him. His name is now Hershey. How could I possible stand by and let him die in front of him? And trust me, if I could I’d run this little bundle of fuzzy joy to the nearest vet, get him his shots and meds and take him inside to become part of the family in an instant. All Luc is asking for is this kitten for Christmas as his pet. He offered to take his portion of Christmas money for presents and give it to little Hershey to pay for vet bills. But there’s this little thing of allergies and a rental agreement standing in our way.

So we did the best thing we could in this situation. We took him to the Humane Society. It was daddy’s idea and I was so thankful that we could take him to a place where he would be cared for and adopted out while giving my kids a chance to see all the other little kitties and animals up for adoption. The kids loved seeing all the little critters. They were making their lists and pleas as to what they wanted when we buy our house.

I’ll admit, Luc held up like a champ. But he lost his friend. He was a sad mess most of the night. He held on to Lily’s little stuffed black cat trying to soothe his heart loss and he cuddled next to mommy a lot and we talked, for the millionth time, about why we couldn’t keep little Hershey and why Santa still can’t bring a real cat for Christmas.

And I’m not sure what inspired the request but suddenly I found myself at the learning table drawing a kitten for Luc. Luc and Lily were amazed at my drawing ability (not stellar, but not bad) and were suddenly inspired to draw something in a realistic way too. Suddenly everyone was drawing and I was reminiscing about drawing when I was little and Lily was oohing and aahhing trying at my old stuff and trying her hand at different techniques. And before we knew it, Drawing in Color (the most amazing kids art book ever) was pulled out and kids were flipping and experimenting.

I was amazed at the results. Here is this 5 year old boy and 8 year old girl just producing these images that blow their usual drawings out of the water. These are the homeschooling moments that I live for! And they never happen when planned! Lily asked if tomorrow she could draw some more. She said she wants to do it for school and even in her free time. I’m looking forward to what their free time will be filled with over the winter. Audio books here we come!

Lily's Cat - 8 years old

Luc's Cat - 5 years old

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Things to be thankful for…deer legs and eggs

My son came home with a deer leg the other day. This momma about had a heart attack. He was so proud as he handed over this body part with exposed joint bone and clotted blood.

“Can we keep it, mom?” eyes big as saucers he wanted to know as the others crowded around in awe. And it was awe-inspiring in the grotesque sort of way. Here we are studying the human body and here before us is a live, first hand speciman. Okay, maybe not human but body part none the less!

And my other son before that had come home with eggs he found at the place where our yard ends and the forest begins. “Can we have a baby chick, mom?” Turkey? Too small, I think. Yet abandoned by mother so no son, no chickies.

“Can we eat it, mom?” Having no idea how fresh, or not, these eggs were I wasn’t going to risk it. But oh how beautiful they were and even this morning, Turkey Day, as I literally see turkeys in our front lawn, I think how lucky we are to be here amidst all this.

What memories will sink deep down from this season of life? I long to capture all on film…deer hooves, mystery eggs, kids chasing turkey amid bikes and toys.

Thank you, God, for your many blessings pouring out to our family this year. You are a God of splendor, majesty, intricacy, and details. You amaze me daily. All I have to do is look around me and I am instantly immersed in Your miracles!

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:15

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!!!

Turning One…

Happy 1st  Birthday to our little guy who got to, for one day, be the only one to lick the beater!

He’s having a tech birthday he decided. He’s totally into smart phones and absolutely needed one seeing as mommy and daddy don’t even own a cell phone, let alone a “smart” phone!

And Eli decided that getting messy for his birthday was just not his thing. He’d much rather eat all that yummy cake and frosting!

 

Playing Doctor: Germs and Our Immune System

The kids have had great fun this week studying about germs. I figured, mainly since everyone had a cold, that this was a good place to start. We did a mini overall introduction to the human body last week with a few fun worksheets and watching Osmosis Jones. Of course, as you can see above, we dug out the doctor kit and the littles have been playing all week. They were even fighting over the outfit so their solution was that Lilah got the shirt and Luc the scrub pants. He made up for it by donning a mint green oxford button up. He actually did look like a doctor then! It made me smile.

Although we’ve read several good books and watched several good videos, I think the kids favorite activity was learning how to wash hands properly. Ivy has been in the bathroom every chance she gets now to put soap on her hands (and whatever else she can). Our house mess level has been high but overall the kids have been enjoying themselves. It has been harder sticking to the other schedule of maintaining math and language arts. The first week back is always hardest. My weekend plans, other than Eli’s birthday, is to tweak this part to make sure we stay on schedule. I think what will help the most will be me being even more prepared. I thought I was this time with everything all printed out but I’ve found it’s the little things that will make the biggest difference to us…already-sharpened pencils, papers already on clipboards the night before for each child, as much chores as possible already done the night before to make a smooth morning transition.

We studied how our body works to keep germs out, combat germs once they invade, and how our body naturally heals itself. We also read about the doctor and immunizations. Most of our technical stuff (for the older two) had to do with the job of white and red blood cells. Here is a sampling of what we used.

Free Resources:

Living Books:

(There are many other great books to go along with this one.)

Other books we used:

  • About Me (Childcraft) – great overall resource for a human body study with children. Worded as a living book and keeps the kids interest the entire time. Great for older or smaller children. Use the parts that go with what you are studying. We will use this book each week and just read bits and pieces as we go.
  • The Giant Germ – a Magic School Bus chapter book that Gabe read independently this week.
  • Judy Moody: The Doctor Is In – a chapter book that Lily read indepdendtly this week.
  • Daisy The Doctor (Usborne) – a great read-aloud for the littles
  • Bernstein Bears Go to the Doctor – another great picture book for the littles

Free Videos:

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The Orange Shoes

We participated in the Samaritan’s Purse Shoebox Christmas program this year. My kids filled out the wonderful get-to-know-me worksheet, made Christmas cards and picked what they wanted to go in the shoebox. It was a very positive experience with only a few drawbacks (kids didn’t get to help with packing the boxes) that I might tweak for next year.

To help facilitate why there is a need for this program we watched this video:

operation christmas child

And then we read this story…

…and everyone was quiet, captivated, and in awe. It is one of those stories that instantly grab you from the opening page with delicious words to pull you in. It is a picture book that even a 10 year old boy will completely sit through enthralled and not think he is too old for this. It is a timeless story about valuing the important things and how we, as parents, can spur our children on even when there is little money to do it.

Little Delly has no shoes. Her parents barely have money to pay for basics let alone shoes for her. There is to be a Shoebox Social at school to raise money for new school supplies. Delly has to not only figure out how to participate, but undergo the all-too-common cruel teasing from other school children about her appearance and family. But Delly is dertermined and gifted artistically and having little money does not hinder her from taking part.

My kids begged to be read this again after reading it the first time. This book was a rare and precious treat to us! Perfect for before-the-holidays reading!

Free Lessons ~ Health, Nutrition, and the Human Body for Healthy Kids

Discovered a great new site for homeschooling moms…

Nutrition for Healthy Kids is a blog dedicated to teaching our children about proper nutrition. This homeschooling momma steps out of the box and teaches young children to think critically about their food. Her lessons go way beyond the public school’s general 4 Food Groups philosophy. What’s the difference between organic and non-organic? Can you taste the difference? See the difference? She explores using the scientific theory to go through lessons on everything from basic food nutrition to grocery store plu codes and knowing what a GMO is. Each lesson comes with a downloadable worksheet for the kids to use in their science investigations. And there is lots of hands-on (with little prep work) and opportunities for field trips.

I was planning on doing a Nutrition, Health and Hygiene, and Anatomy and Physiology unit this upcoming winter anyway. A good can’t-go-outside science unit to work on.  This site will tuck in neatly to what we will already be doing. Besides, flu season is the perfect opportunity for a field trip to our doctor for a seasonal shot! And our kids have all been under-the-weather this week so it will be the perfect time to start studying about germs and how nutrition can heal your body. My goal is for the kids to take an active role in their own health and understand why mommy and daddy make some of the decisions we do. I want them to decide what foods will build their immune systems and I want them to begin the process of learning the basics of cooking. We will also be spending the winter planning our spring garden so that will also tie in nicely. We will also be focusing on two very important key biblical elements…the fruit of self-control paired with the freedom we have under Christ. I will be curious to see how their knowledge plays out over the season of over-indulgence!

Here are some other resources we will be using:

If you’ve done any clicking, you can see we are going to have loads of fun with this study! We will use the books we have on our shelf first and then, if needed, supplement with the library. What do we have on our shelf? Take a peek!
I hope to add each week what we’ve done specifically for the week and what resources we used. This will allow for a more detailed list then I can provide here as well as lots of fun, free video links to specific units.
Our schedule:
  • Week 1Germs, How the body heals, Doctors, Teeth and Dentists
  • Week 2 – Nutrition, Vitamins and Minerals, Supermarket
  • Week 3 – Anatomy: 5 Senses
  • Week 4 – Anatomy: Cells, Bones, Muscles
  • Week 5 – Anatomy: Heart, Lungs, Stomach

The Homeschool Mother's Journal