Toxic Plants and Gyres ~ Weekly Report

In my efforts to aid the children’s nature study of mapping our yard this year, I went to a nursery in town last week with pictures and asked for help labeling several of our plants. The nursery owner was very helpful, and I got most of them labeled.

In typical Afrikaner confidence, however, she scared me about one of them–“I can’t tell from the picture, but if it’s what I think it is…it’s toxic….Your children will end up in the hospital.” What?? Seth took a branch by this week to check, and it’s all good. Our family is safe with this plant. Whew! (And Seth forgot what the name of it was, bummer!)

Tibouchina--so pretty when the flower petals fall and there is purple above and below.

Tibouchina–so pretty when the flower petals fall and there is purple above and below.

Also called the princess flower.

Also called the princess flower.

So this week, Caleb drew and wrote some information in his nature journal on this pretty “Tibouchina tree.” We have two bordering the driveway. We had seven at one time, but the others died through strong winds or termites. It’s funny to me that the linked site says that tibouchina trees are “seldom bothered by pests.” We must have ninja termites in our yard; because we have seen live saplings fall over, eaten right through the trunk. Argh!

Far removed from our yard, Caleb continued studying oceans this week. He added to his lapbook with the names of the oceans, some vocabulary, and zones of the ocean floor. We made a “gyre” (a surface current) with cheerios, a pan of water, and air. Wanna see?

It scared me having Caleb hold the running hair dryer near water so I could take the picture. I kept saying, "Don't let it touch the water!"

It scared me having Caleb hold the running hair dryer near water so I could take the picture. I kept saying, “Don’t let it touch the water!”

(You’re supposed to use two hair dryers, or a small fan; but a small fan we do not have, nor two hair dryers. It didn’t work as well with the big fan, but we still got the idea.)

For history, we learned about the Byzantine Empire and Justinian and Theodora. For Friday’s Freewrite, Caleb made up his own “Code of Caleb” after Emporer Justinian’s new code of laws. In reading this week, Caleb read Who in the World Was the Acrobatic Empress? (I am now an “affiliate” for Peace Hill Press, so if you happened to click that link and also happened to purchase something, I happen to get a bit of commission! Thank you for your support, if so… I am not expecting to make money off of this, since my blog is personal and not highly trafficked, but I AM so happy with Peace Hill Press materials, that this is one of the few companies I would consider being an affiliate for! Anyway…) The vocab was a bit difficult for him, but the length of the story and font size were perfect for a 2nd grader (or 3rd). Anyone with girls should get this book instead of some Disney princess story.

Somehow art makes my kids contort themselves in the weirdest positions. His foot was behind him on the top of the chair right before this picture.

Somehow art makes my kids contort themselves in the weirdest positions. His foot was behind him on the top of the chair right before this picture.

Then for art, the boys colored little Justinian and Theodora figures with accompanying outfits. I’ll laminate them and they can be used as paper dolls which the kids (or Callie, if the boys don’t prefer) can play with while I read future history lessons. The boys also did a page on drawing a house for art.

They're coloring the figures; the house drawing pages are to the right.

They’re coloring the figures; the house drawing pages are to the right.

Colin began learning numbers in the “teen family” this week. He’s also plugging away at learning his consonants. I double some of the lessons on consonants, so he is ahead in his phonics instruction. So far, kindergarten has been not too demanding for him time-wise.

Caleb is a typical boy, struggling with distraction at times. He’s been learning state of being verbs in grammar and copywork, rounding to the hundreds’ place and adding money (with decimals) in math, and how to spell the soft sounds of “c” and “g” before e, i, or y in spelling. English spelling can be kind of difficult. For example, in a lesson when practicing “c” before e, i, or y, the word from the list “since” still starts with an “s” (not a “c.”) Why? And why can’t pencil be spelled “pensil”?

Such quandaries of life have been stumping me this week. Thankfully, there weren’t too many other larger quandaries going on here. I updated this blog with some extra pages and pictures in my free time.

Caleb walked around with this lizard on his arm for at least an hour on Monday! The Africans are scared of them. Scared me to death by sticking it in my face! "Look, Mommy!"

Caleb walked around with this lizard on his arm for at least an hour on Monday! The Africans are scared of them. Scared me to death by sticking it in my face! “Look, Mommy!”

I got a lot of work done on homeschool planning and copying last weekend and have more to do this weekend. It’s a good thing I still enjoy this homeschool thing. 🙂

Carson, chilling out all by himself during family devotions.

Carson, chilling out all by himself during family devotions.

Carson walloped his ear on our solid wood table during lunch this week, and that hurt. 😦 Callie enjoyed wearing this outfit to church that someone gave us. It has a jumper underneath a white over-smock. It kind of reminds me of Little House on the Prairie. She loved it! She usually dislikes dresses and is picky about her clothing. So what a surprise that she went for this outfit that Seth thought looked kinda silly. He wondered if that means she’ll be an artist? (No offense, Aunt Bethany!)

She's all smiles for the camera in this outfit. So unusual for her!

She’s all smiles for the camera in this outfit. So unusual for her!

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About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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3 Responses to Toxic Plants and Gyres ~ Weekly Report

  1. Lois Ruley says:

    Love Callies’ dress 🙂 Thank you for your faithful work. May God continue to bless and use you~

  2. Tonia says:

    Pretty dress! It does remind me of something from Little House on the Prairie. My daughter often asks for ‘2 braids like Laura’. We loved the Acrobatic Empress as well – great book.

    I’m still giggling about the hair dryer and water – it sounds like something I’d be doing too! (Trying to take pictures and protect kids from disaster all at the same time – a mother’s life!)

    • Amy says:

      Kind of reminds me of their nightgowns, right? 🙂 Now that you mention it, I remember seeing pictures on your blog of your daughter in braids!

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