I thought I could write quickly and get this letter done before a storm hit, but I hadn’t typed one word before a downpour started. Storms are lightning-quick and fierce in Africa. I have a second time limit for this update in that the government electrical company has been “load shedding” lately, and so our electricity will likely be cut off soon, as it has been other times this week.
Speaking of storms, we had some ups and downs this week in homeschooling. I want to make sure to share a few of those at times, hopefully without complaining, so that people don’t get the impression that we aren’t normal and that all of homeschooling is a bed of roses. I am learning to try not to build my expectations too high. The boys are learning in character traits such as attentiveness, listening, and diligence. 🙂 When I look back on what we learned this week, however, I am happy with their growth; and I hope that they enjoyed some of it.
We studied medieval India after finishing a section on Saint Nicholas from the Byzantine chapter of our history book. I enjoyed trying to incorporate those studies into our language and art when possible. Caleb copied interrogatory or imperative sentences from his literature books from the week before on medieval bookmaking and the empress Theodora. (I made cursive copywork sheets here. The old cursive option is similar to ABeka except for some differences in the capital letters.)
He read Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland (that was in conjunction with our section last week on the monks who brought Christianity to England); The Blind Men and the Elephant; and In the Heart of the Village for reading this week. We started keeping a journal of his reading this year. Right now, we are just recording the titles of the books he reads; but as his writing stamina grows, he will write a short 2- or 3- sentence summary of the stories he especially likes, maybe 2-3 times per week. After reading that the Indians made a shrine to their gods under the banyan trees in In the Heart of the Village, we stopped and prayed for them to come to Christ. Caleb wished that he could go to India–to preach to them and to see the banyan trees. We also had a small discussion about the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.
Thursday night, I made our favorite Indian food–basmati rice with chicken curry. It was so fun to serve the meal in the colors of India’s flag!
Also for fun, I read to the kids the story The Baker’s Dozen, a story of Saint Nicholas, and how the tradition of the “baker’s dozen” came about. They had never heard of the baker’s dozen, but I found it interesting; and they liked the story. One of the suggested activities was to think of something kind we could secretly do for someone. The boys want to take a plant that they planted themselves a while ago, which has been growing decently, to some Indian friends we have nearby. Then we read how traditionally, children would put their shoes out the night before St. Nicholas’ Day (Dec. 6), and in the morning they would find chocolate gold coins inside. I remembered that I had some stashed away here, so I suggested they put their shoes out and see what happened.
Our art this week was a craft–a picture decorated with colored sand, which I guess is tied to medieval India. Unfortunately our sand was a bit dark, so it was difficult to color it well. I also should have paid heed to the suggestion to make the picture simple. A lot of detail got covered up by the sand. Callie loved this project! Sometimes I wish I’d had more girls…
We finished the first lesson of Swimming Creatures on oceans in general. Next week we will actually begin learning about swimming creatures! Caleb really wants to learn about that. We did two experiments this week. One illustrated beautifully why humans have been unable to go all the way to the bottom of the ocean. It showed how more pressure causes decreased lung capacity. The second failed, for us, but anyway we tried. It was supposed to show which is heavier–cold water or hot? But it was hard to see. I’m not sure which variable caused our experiment to be inscrutable–possibly our water temperatures, or how much food coloring I put in the water, or the shallowness of one of our bowls. Or I am just science-challenged!
Colin, Callie, and Carson have visibly grown in wisdom and stature. The “in favor with God and man” part still remains to be seen. 😉
Colin brought in a very hairy caterpillar today that the nationals have all warned me several times makes a person intolerably itchy. I immediately had it removed and him wash his hands, but the itch started. Thankfully, it seems all over now.
A dream about cockroaches everywhere in my bed woke me up early this morning, so I had ample time for prayer and exercise! 🙂 (It’s humorous how high a woman can jump out of bed with dreams like that.)
Some newer contacts that we were excited about befriending for evangelism fell through, so that was disappointing. Tomorrow we will have a Bible Quiz competition. We’re hoping one of our two church teams wins, but it’ll be tough (and fun!) We so appreciate your prayers for wisdom in the ministry here.