Cast Off and Anchors Aweigh, My Boys!

I got my cast off this week! (Still limping and afraid to walk, though.) :/

I got my cast off this week! (Still limping and afraid to walk, though.) :/

We’re feeling a sense of relief and excitement this week as we see the end of our school year approaching. It’s so fun to be able to “check off the box” for a subject that final time for the year. Of course, part of our excitement is due to our upcoming vacation. A friend gave us a place to stay in Durban for about 10 days right next to the Indian Ocean! Yes, we are suffering missionaries.

I still expected about three, maybe four weeks to finish our school year after our vacation; but let me share (cuz I’m so pumped) what we’ve finished this week. First, Colin finished his ABeka phonics and handwriting lessons for the year.

All that kindergarten work tuckered me out.

All that kindergarten work tuckered me out.

I decided to continue practicing with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons rather than jump into ABeka’s 1st grade phonics. We quit 100 EZ when he started ABeka kindergarten, so we just picked up where we’d left off in 4-year old preschool. It was getting very difficult for him when we stopped in preschool (about lesson 40), but now it’s much easier, of course. He flew through six lessons this week. We also will continue some handwriting with his kindergarten writing tablet from ABeka, which I usually cut out during the year, because ABeka is heavy on handwriting (all opinions my own!)

Caleb still has about three weeks left of phonics lessons; but when he saw Colin finish his workbook, he got in the mood and finished his 2nd grade workbook. We will still finish most of his lessons, however. He wanted to work ahead in handwriting as well, but I decided that would defeat the purpose of daily practice.

Two finished lapbooks for Apologia Swimming Creatures.

Two finished lapbooks for Apologia Swimming Creatures.

Making jellyfish for our ocean box.

Making jellyfish for our ocean box.

Instead, we doubled and tripled our work in science and finished our book! I remember thinking at the beginning of the year that we wouldn’t be able to finish it, because Caleb’s attention span wouldn’t handle such long and technical readings. But he has matured, and while it is still too technical for lower elementary at times, we managed to complete all thirteen chapters. This chapter was a catch-all: water worms, sponges, and microscopic water animals. Science is my least favorite subject (and probably Caleb’s favorite), so I am glad to be done for the year.

Our finished ocean box: isn't it bee-yoo-ti-ful!

Our finished ocean box: isn’t it bee-yoo-ti-ful!

Since we borrowed this textbook from a friend, we are returning it with some handmade thank you cards and cookies. We spent a lot of time drawing different sea creatures for our cards–sharks, frogs, hermit crabs, and an angler fish. I’m happy with how they turned out; it was worth the time.

Colin's card is left (plankton and frog); mine on top--oops, the froglet is 1/2 the size of the shark! and science text and Caleb's card.

Colin’s card is left (plankton and frog); mine on top–oops, the froglet is 1/2 the size of the shark! and science text and Caleb’s card.

In history this week we met Shakespeare–who needs his first name? The bard has been a household name since the Elizabethan Age and has greatly impacted the English language. Caleb read a children’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which had lovely pictures and was slightly challenging for his reading level. (I’d love to have more Shakespeare works by Coville, but they’re kinda pricey; this one is rather cheap, though.) But I read another children’s version aloud from Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare, so it helped him to understand the story first. We tried to read aloud Macbeth, but starting out with Shakespeare’s tragedies isn’t endearing to sensitive children. After introducing Shakespeare with Midsummer, I then read Hamlet from Beautiful Stories, and the boys were okay with everyone dying at the end of that one. For fun, the boys disguised themselves with branches and tried to sneak up on the house, like the finale of Macbeth. Caleb also began memorizing a short speech from Macbeth.

October 31 is Reformation Day, though most people will remember Halloween. Our church will recognize it with a normal service, including some special music and a little history lesson. Our people know nothing of how the Reformation impacted church history, so (even if we are Baptist) it will be good for them to hear another emphasis on the Five Solas in a time when those are under attack here in Africa by the prosperity gospel.

Then we’re off and away to the sea! I hope to take the boys to an aquarium in Durban to catch a glimpse of some of the creatures we studied this year. I also hope to comb the beach for some shells. Caleb has memorized a poem called “The Legend of the Sand Dollar,” (this was included in Apologia’s textbook) so I would love it if we could find a sand dollar! Please pray for the safety of our house if you think of it!

Caleb's card, inside. There's a hermit crab on the bottom right.

Caleb’s card, inside. There’s a hermit crab on the bottom right.


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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5 Responses to Cast Off and Anchors Aweigh, My Boys!

  1. Lynn Boger says:

    The Doiel and Hester kids had a sleep over at our house last night and we were just admiring all of your great art work with the pictures. It is exciting to see all your faces on the computer screen and good to see Carson with his cast off. We prayed together for you last night in our devotion time. Love, Dad

  2. Nicole says:

    So glad you get to go away for ten days! We’ll pray that you have a relaxing time with your family. I love checking off boxes too; however, we are just 10 weeks into our school year:)

  3. Adriana says:

    Hi- I am doing Apologia this year and was wondering what you used on the inside (background) of your ocean box. It looks beautiful! Adriana

    • Amy says:

      Hi, Adriana, thanks for the compliment. 🙂 I used a roll or two of blue “book cover” paper that they sell over here (we live in S. Africa) when school begins for the school kids to cover their books. I can’t remember if they have anything like that in the U.S. Perhaps gift wrapping paper?

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