Boys Are Bad for Nothing ~ Weekly Report


I mentioned last week that the boys have been into reading Calvin and Hobbes lately. They especially take delight in one series on Calvin’s anti-girls club–G.R.O.S.S.–Get Rid of Slimy GirlS. One snippet that instigates little-boy-Meyers’Ā  hilarity has Calvin and Hobbes writing a list on what girls are good for, including nothing and being hit with water balloons. I have chuckled to myself inwardly several times since finding out yesterday that Caleb is making a book called “10 resins why Girls are bad and good, and 10 resins why boys are bad and good.” It’s taking him longer than expected. He’s finished the “10-Girls-are-bad” list and the “10-Girls-are-good,” and has only gotten halfway through listing how boys are bad. Top of the list for the latter?

“1. Boys are bad for nothing.”

At times like this when my heart is warmed to their little boy cuteness and trying so hard to be funny, I can agree with that statement. I love my boys! And I counted this project as his “Friday Freewrite” for the week–maybe I should count it for the whole month! Some funny ones on his girls’ lists– “Girls are bad for reading thiallagee.” “Girls are bad for not likeing backitball.” “Girls are bad at diveing.” (driving) Maybe I should add to his list for the boys, “Boys are bad at spelling!” But it’s so humorous, I don’t mind the driving and theology comments!


Although Caleb forgets to apply his spelling knowledge in other subjects, he did finish All About Spelling‘s level 2 this week! I was just looking over level 3 this afternoon, and I am very impressed with this program. It looks like a wonderful way to shore up and establish the phonics he’s learned through ABeka. Caleb is not a natural at spelling, but he says that his two favorite subjects are math and spelling; and I attribute that joy in a difficult subject to All About Spelling’s excellent curriculum. I plan to take level 3 at a slower pace, at about one lesson per week, and expect to finish it by the end of his second grade year.

So typical for my pictures--bad lighting, some faces covered, hammy smiles, but they all wanted to be included!

So typical for my pictures–bad lighting, some faces covered, hammy smiles, but they all wanted to be included!

“Girls are bad for hanging snakes on the seiling.” Yep, I even told him how to spell “ceiling,” and he still spelled it wrong. Excellent penmanship, however! šŸ™‚ So what’s the “snakes on the ceiling” bit about?

IMG_1524History! We’ve been learning about the spread of Islam, and the establishment of the city of Baghdad as Muslim Central Station. Two of the four sections we read this week told an abbreviated story of Sinbad the Sailor from The Thousand and One Nights. I appreciate that Story of the World, our history curriculum, sometimes includes literature from the time and people. Anyway, Sinbad’s unbelievable adventures led him to a valley of huge cobra snakes (and diamonds); so for our art this week, we colored paper plates, cut them in a spiral pattern and hung them from the ceiling. The boys loved that! I asked Seth if he could add diamonds to make it more real…

I told them to make "scared" faces.

I told them to make “scared” faces.

Tea with bread and...sesame!

Tea with bread and…sesame!

We also ate sesame biscuits for our poetry tea this week and told the story of “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves” and the famous phrase, “Open, Sesame!” We played a review game included in the curriculum as well. Caleb remembered much of the material, but Colin only a bit, which is fine. I am glad to see so much more retention as Caleb grows, in comparison with last year.

Caleb read The Day of Ahmed’s Secret, Count Your Way Through the Arab World (each page tells how to counts from 1-10 in Arabic and then relates the number to some fact about Arabian culture), and began My Father’s Dragon, a chapter book about a boy who seeks a dragon so he can fly on him.

I wonder that Caleb did not include, “Girls are bad at science projects” in his list. We had another somewhat undemonstrable demonstration this week in our study of swimming creatures. We were supposed to use megaphones made of paper to hear how sound bounces off of different materials; this, to demonstrate dolphins’ echolocation and how they use hearing to differentiate animals around them. I couldn’t tell a difference! A second experiment this week wonderfully showed how salt water does not freeze as quickly as fresh water. We placed a cup of each in the freezer and checked them hourly to see which froze faster, if at all.


IMG_1536The kids “painted” with Bingo markers to a violin concerto by Bach this week for music appreciation. It was a beautiful piece. I enjoyed the break. We are also studying a new picture by Paul Gauguin of “Van Gogh Painting Sunflowers.” The boys drew a neat bug they found on their newly-washed clothes pile for their nature journal. I had decided not to do nature study this week, when it rained again.

For math, Caleb has begun column addition with multiple digits. He does wonderfully with mental math, adding up numbers in his head, but with the amount of numbers in multiple digit column addition, he sometimes makes mistakes, forgetting to add one of them.

Boys may try (and succeed) to be funny; but I think girls are often unintentionally funnier. Here’s Callie quoting 1 Corinthians 9:27 this week: “But I discipine my bottom [she pats the offending body part] and make it my ‘lave, so dat aftah I have peed to othahs, I myself will not be dispolified.” (Just in case you couldn’t tell, here’s the correct version! “But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”)

I got tired of reading Calvin and Hobbes to the kids. I have moved our read-aloud time to lunchtime in the hopes of finding an even better time for it. Although our nap time still works as a time for reading aloud, the children like to pick out picture books for that time; and they are still so little that I don’t want to refuse them that time with replacements of older chapter books. We began The Tale of Despereaux this week, and we love it!

Monday, we changed our schedule at the last minute in order to take our children to the doctor. The two older boys had sores, and Caleb’s were spreading. Callie had one large boil under the skin of her knee. They were prescribed oral antibiotics and a topical cream for a stapph infection of the skin. We had to go to a few pharmacists in order to collect their prescriptions. I promptly lost a couple of doses of Caleb’s special antibiotics (he’s allergic to penicillin) by spilling some of it. šŸ˜¦ We hope this will be the end of the infections, but our children are in direct skin-on-skin contact playing and wrestling with village children all the time, so it may reoccur.


I volunteered to help some of the children in my Sunday School class with their math or English studies, and had two take me up on it the following Tuesday. Little did I know it would take almost two hours! The children were aged 10 and 12 and had to complete three math “worksheet” pages completely copied out by hand on lined paper, including word problems. I was appalled to see that while they were being asked to complete long division problems and add mixed fractions in which they’d have to change the denominator, as well as solve for x in some pre-algebraic equations, the children were still computing simple addition facts on their fingers. They had to skip count using tally marks or simply guess in order to figure out multiplication facts. I knew the education was poor; nevertheless I felt surprised and worried for their future, being passed from one grade to the next with a 40% composite score but little conceptual understanding! Seth began drilling math facts at his Thursday children’s Bible club. I am thinking about if there is an additional way I can help them…

We had a wonderful time with our guest from Joburg area last week. He left Sunday evening, and we were glad to be of some help to him. He helped at the workday for our church building Saturday, and now our outdoor toilets are finished, complete with leftover pink and blue paint used for the ladies’ and men’s doors! Haha–unimaginable at any of our supporting churches.

Still raining over here! Have you gotten into spring yet?

About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and homeschooling mother of five children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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3 Responses to Boys Are Bad for Nothing ~ Weekly Report

  1. Jessica Wenger says:

    O, Amy! This is too funny! I love it! I especially like the theology comment. He did not do too bad at spelling that big word! Callie’s version of the Bible verse is great! It is good you are blogging all of this because one day you will have a record of already written things to remember about your young family. I am making plans for the homeschool conference again. I will be remembering last years and all the fun we had! šŸ™‚

  2. Tonia @ The Sunny Patch says:

    Your kids are just so stinkin’ cute! I have a Calvin & Hobbes fan here as well.

    I was the kid counting on my fingers for simple math – so hard to see others having the same struggles. I don’t know what your options for helping the children there would be but I really credit RightStart for MY understanding of math. I feel like I’ve finally figured out the ‘math mystery’ because of that program. I’ll be praying that God gives you an inspired idea for reaching them.

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