Back to School with Pink Soup

How high can our tower be if we use ALL of our Lincoln Logs?

How high can our tower be if we use ALL of our Lincoln Logs?

We took two weeks off of school for a mid-year break, but picked up again with our studies this week. I had a two-page to-do list for my two-week break, much of it having to do with homeschooling (!), but hosting an unplanned guest threw a wrench into some of those plans. When I look at my July Goals, I’m not doing so well! Still I finished some of the list.

For one thing, a lot of cleaning got done. Some was unexpected. 🙂 The defrosting of the refridgerator/freezer was needed, but I didn’t expect to be sweeping under furniture in the bedroom. The furniture was moved to kill a mouse, which woke me up one morning by skittering up my arm! Yuck! He (she?) was dispatched after an elaborate search, which led to some “winter” cleaning.


Is it level????

Is it level????

It’s always difficult to start school after a break, and our start Monday was no different. The schools are on break here, so Seth took advantage of our teens being on break to build more at the church. We just saved up enough money to buy more bricks and cement, so they worked three days each week on the foundation. Since they’re doing it themselves, there’s been some trial and error in leveling each course. Anyway, that meant that Seth wasn’t available to teach Bible or Tsonga and buy me that extra half hour before school began. I’ve been staying up late at nights researching spelling and especially writing curricula and trying to decide (again) on my course for that and where I want to be headed. So we had some slow starts to our days, which then seem to push everything else back later in the day.

That to say that some of the “extras” like nature study, music appreciation, read-alouds (we had guests for several meals this week, including lunch, when we’ve been reading aloud), adding to our ocean box in science (we finished our chapter on sharks and rays, though!), and our poetry tea were dropped; but the important stuff got done. Caleb is learning multiplication, and Colin, addition: this week’s lesson was on the 9x table and the addition sentences that add up to 6.

Caleb is almost done with phonics review for the year, down to about three review lessons and a test per week that focus more on speed reading; and Colin is just beginning Abeka’s “special sounds,” having finished twenty flashcards by now. Abeka’s reading curriculum takes a long time in the beginning of the year with review, and then takes off with new instruction around mid-year, which we’ve passed now.

IMG_2064We finished studying medieval China this week and then studied Russia for the first time. We learned about Vladimir, and the two Ivans (Ivan the Great and Ivan the Terrible). I did a lot of cooking projects this week. One was a bread-and-salt greeting that the Russians used to do for guests when salt was a rare commodity. I also made borscht, a famous Russian beet and cabbage soup. (Seth said the Russians can keep it… Callie saw the “pink” soup and said, “Yuck.”) I made gingerbread for dessert, which made everyone feel a little better about our failed multicultural appreciation experiment.

Mine, before soaked in beet juice.

Mine, before soaked in beet juice.

Our art project was a Russian “Batik” design. We drew Russia’s symbol, a bear (instructions came from a Draw Write Now book). Then we outlined the bear in black and placed some white cloth over it. We melted beeswax that I had on hand for my homemade lip balm, then using a medicine dropper, dripped it on the cloth over the outline. Then we soaked the cloth in beet juice (saved from making the borscht), let it dry overnight, and picked off the wax. I think the white outline of the bear is supposed to pop out against the stained cloth background. It didn’t work very well, though! 😦 For one thing the wax cooled quickly and kept gumming up in the dropper. It was a pain! I much prefer cooking projects to crafts. 😛






Caleb is reading a Stepping Stone book about Robin Hood. The grammar is almost as terrible as in the King Arthur book I described, but at least the stories aren’t scary. They are exciting stuff, sure to make a man out of him. 🙂 He impressed his dad a few times in the last week with his work ethic at the church building project and laying tile at home, so we’re not at all unhappy or worried that he’s sensitive. The opposite, rather!


Callie and I are still learning a letter per week, but she doesn’t seem to retain them. I think overmuch on whether or not to combine her together in a grade with Carson in the future. I want to do what’s best for them, as well as save myself time. I’m wondering how to make that decision? I don’t have to yet, but I still worry over it.

Reading The 4th of July by Alice Dalgliesh to the kids.

Reading The 4th of July by Alice Dalgliesh to the kids.

We spent the 4th of July with our teammates, which was a refreshing, fun day. We had burgers and hot dogs and even made homemade donuts. We also got to meet an American missionary couple during our break. We spent the day with them, discussing missions philosophy and reaching the Tsongas. It was so refreshing, and we found out that they come from a town only an hour away from us in the States! They brought a box of books, which blessed both us and several of our church members.

Trips to town always tucker the little ones out.

Trips to town always tucker the little ones out.

Yet another day out of my 2-week break to-do list was lost by going to town. Seth has been helping two guys in our church for weeks to apply for jobs in town. When they said they had an interview lined up at Coke, and we needed to get curtains for our new homeschool room, we all went into town together. Unfortunately the curtains didn’t work out that day; but the interviews went well, and one of the guys got called for a job this week (not at Coke, though)! Praise the Lord!

This is the guy who got a job!

This is the guy who got a job!


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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