This week we immersed ourselves in watery wonders: In homeschool, we spent time with castles and moats and the aquatic creatures that might reside in those moats, and on the homefront we purchased a “borehole” (well)! Here are the blessings and bummers of the week:
In history we learned about knights in England and in Japan, where they are called samurai. We made a castle out of rice krispy treats, and Caleb got a fun word search of the names of King Arthur’s famous knights.
Caleb began reading The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame about the same time that I began reading The Wind in the Willows by the same author aloud. Caleb’s book was too hard for him, making his reading seem like a reluctant dragon; so I let him quit it after two days and read The Making of a Knight and With You All the Way (by Max Lucado) instead. I personally wouldn’t mind quitting The Wind in the Willows either as I think it’s not very interesting thus far, but the kids like it.
In science we finished our chapter on herps, concentrating on sea snakes, toads, frogs, and salamanders this week. I’m ready to move on! A balloon with vanilla inside placed inside a closed container demonstrated diffusion, which is how certain amphibians can get oxygen through their skin. After a few hours, we opened the container and the smell of vanilla had permeated throughout, even though the vanilla itself was still inside the balloon.
Caleb finished a “lapbook” journal he’s been working on for almost the first five chapters of our swimming creatures science book this year. We looked up how to draw dolphins in Draw.Write.Now so that he could decorate the cover of his lapbook. The experiment for this chapter involved raising some aquatic frogs, but unfortunately we couldn’t purchase any here. If we can find the eggs in our local streams, I may let the boys try raising normal land toads so they can watch the entire egg–tadpole–adult process.
I spent time making a “cheat sheet” for All About Spelling’s first two levels so I could remember how to teach some of the rules. I felt like I learned a lot myself! Caleb wrote his first official thank you letter this week for language, as well as learning about conjunctions and interjections. This week I tried to divorce some of his writing instruction from history, as I realized that connecting the two were causing him to dislike history (since he dislikes writing). I also grew personally this week by beginning (finally) to read chapter 1 of Don Quixote.
On the home and ministry front:
We had a well drilled on Monday (story to come soon)! We are very happy to have water again. (blessing) Unfortunately it is dirty, so we still need to find out how to get clean water from the well. (bummer)
My back went out Sunday afternoon right after hosting some church members for dinner, so I was unable to walk well Monday during all of the drilling. (bummer) It got progressively better throughout the week. (blessing) Seth was kind and gave me a back rub whenever I asked for one. He knows what back troubles are like!
I appreciated that my back was back in at least third gear by Thursday evening, when we hosted several American missionaries for dinner. They were traveling through the area on their way to Zimbabwe, and they brought the meal and washed the dishes! I saw the “light at the end of the tunnel” when I witnessed how helpful and responsible their teen girls were. (blessing)
Seth bought a new drill to screw in some burglar bars in our garage windows and a security door over our front door, after the attempted break-ins last week. Unfortunately before he could install the extra security, the drill was stolen! 😦 Big bummer. (Remind me why Africa is poor again?)
But with the Americans came some goodies–a new-to-us computer and phone from Americans who heard about our stolen items and gave freely to replace them, as well as coveted American food, like chocolate chips, graham crackers, and ranch dressing packets. (blessing!)
Another blessing was on America’s Memorial Day, when my entire family made a joint Skype call (a little crazy!) to talk with us. One of my first jobs back in 7th grade was to babysit my niece and nephew. I remember rocking my colicky 3-month old niece to sleep for her afternoon nap, and now she just graduated high school. Wish I could have seen her graduation, but I got to see my nephew’s last year; so I figure 50% isn’t too bad for my missionary-presence-at-big-family-occasions so far, what with the matter of all that water between us!