When Cures Hurt

African version of snow: hail! What a storm we had yesterday.

African version of snow: hail! What a storm we had yesterday.

Ah, a “normal” week. I went to church on the weekend, homeschooled my children five days, and prepared to teach a women’s Bible study tomorrow on meekness. Anytime I prepare for the ladies’ Bible study, my time for writing at Ita Vita suffers. But my lesson prep is done, so I type this weekly update to the background of my neighbor blaring an interesting electrified African CD of “Gimme Dat Ol’ Time Religion,” interspersed with occasional “Beep-boops” and syncopated “doots.” Unfortunately, our neighbor is not interested in old-time religion.

Colin finished reading his last official kindergarten reading book this week! We celebrated with brownies. I made sure to have a share of the chocolate too. (Since I endured the teaching, right?) We came up with a new idea for motivation when his mind is wandering rather than focusing on his handwriting papers, which are his enemy. I don’t want to always be nagging. So I laid a row of jelly beans in front of his paper, and anytime he didn’t focus on his work, I snagged one and put it away. I can’t say this idea is working very well yet! But I hope with time it will at least show him how often his mind wanders and help him with the character trait of attentiveness.


The boys finished a chapter on cnidarians (jellyfish, anemones, and corals, etc.) in science this week. We did a demonstration (can’t fairly call it an experiment, but calling it a demonstration is a stretch too, as I’ll explain…) on how currents in the sea can be caused by cooler water below and hot water on the top; thus the cnidarians and zooplankton float through the water on these currents. The demonstration didn’t really work, but I’ll blame it on not having the correct ingredients? We needed a fruit popsicle preferably made from real fruit like Edy’s frozen fruit bar, and ours was very far from being anything real. It was all we could find. But my cynical side did snicker inwardly at yet another failed science “experiment.” Caleb was supposed to write what he learned from it. “Caleb, what did you learn?” Nothing. “Okay, repeat after me… [this is what you were supposed to learn…]”

In history we learned about Good Queen Bess. I really didn’t know or remember anything about the Elizabethan Age. Very interesting! Caleb is reading a biography called Who Was Queen Elizabeth? It is interesting and at a perfect reading level! I had heard of this series of biographies before called Who Was __?, but hadn’t read any yet. I would love to have more from this series. This seems an excellent series for biographies for lower elementary (even upper could read it for a quick biography). There are pictures, nice size of font, not too difficult vocabulary yet challenging for a 2nd grader, call-out boxes on related topics (some examples from this one: the Plague, the Tower of London, Sir Francis Drake, Martin Luther, etc.), interesting details, and not too long.

In order from top: egg yolk/vinegar/flower petal cure, crushed ruby and emerald cure (crushed candies), live spider covered in honey cure, lettuce tea to induce sleep, and "cow manure" poultice.

In order from top: egg yolk/vinegar/flower petal cure, crushed ruby and emerald cure (crushed candies), live spider covered in honey cure, lettuce tea to induce sleep, and “cow manure” poultice.

Flower petal treatment for their "sores."

Flower petal treatment for their “sores.”

For a fun history project we performed some Renaissance cures (loosely related to all the strange treatments doctors gave Edward VI) for sore limbs, inflammation, to induce sleep, to give energy, and treat sores. I felt SO bad though, because the “cow manure poultice” (the chocolate no-bake cookies) was still too hot, and I barely burned Caleb’s wrist! So much for a cure! Or fun! Anyway, he felt a little better when he got to eat the poultice. Poor kid.

No thank you to the lettuce tea!

No thank you to the lettuce tea!

Self-education: I read some more of Don Quixote this week. It’s gotten a bit more interesting, if unbelievable. Seth and I ditched reading Bulfinch’s Mythology together at his request and began Cry, the Beloved Country (a novel placed in South Africa.) Seth finished reviewing When Helping Hurts and disagreed with enough of it to title his review When Hurting Helps. I decided to play along and title this article in the same vein.

What are you reading lately?

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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2 Responses to When Cures Hurt

  1. Nicole says:

    You’re such a fun mom! Keep up the good work:)

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