Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Cinnamon Bear

Whether you homeschool, or just have kids, if you haven't checked out the Homeschool Radio Shows, you should! This weeks freebie, as well as the continuing freebie for the past three Tuesdays on the The Homeschool Freebie of the Day website was The Cinnamon Bear.

The Cinnamon Bear is the adventures of Judy and Jimmy, twin brother and sister, who go into their attic to find their Christmas Star to go on top of their tree. While looking for their Christmas Star, they meet the Cinnamon Bear who is only four inches tall. He teaches them how to de-grow and then takes them to Maybe Land to chase after the Crazy Quilt Dragon who he saw steal their Christmas Star.

This is a wonderful 1930's radio drama. There is magic and a witch, but she is one of those classic witches who is green and afraid of seeing herself in a mirror. There is also Santa Claus and Jack Frost, who my children have always been taught the truth about...that they are made up. Ellie and Wyatt know the true story of St. Nicholas and that his legend has been adopted into what is now know as Santa Claus. Anyway, the story is that of your wildest imagination, and totally fun!

We downloaded the episodes in three parts each week on the Homeschool Freebie of the Day. The Erskine Family, who run both sites, suggested listening to one episode each day till Christmas, as there are 26 episodes. We couldn't wait though! We were so glad we weren't listening to the show back in the 1930s where we'd have to wait until the radio show was on again!

There is also a free coloring book download which is wonderfully illustrated by one of the Erskine's daughters. We have a comb-binder on loan from my parents, so I printed out and bound up coloring books for both of my kids. Ellie enjoyed the coloring book from the start, but Wyatt didn't act like he wanted me to put his together the first day. Well, the second week, he did want his bound up. I ended up printing three more coloring books for him that day. Ellie is my art girl, she can always be found with art supplies...drawing, coloring, painting. Wyatt has to really like something to get into art. Well, he LOVED the Cinnamon Bear coloring book! He colored all four Cinnamon Bear coloring books in one day!

So, if you haven't checked out those websites, click on the highlighted above. You should be able to download the Cinnamon Bear radio show and coloring book until Sunday, December 20, 2009. Merry Christmas!

Science Secrets

I'll be honest, Science was not my subject during most of my school years. I did enjoy Chemistry in high school and college, and the general science class I had to take in college (it covered history, astronomy, physics, seemed like everything). Anyway, I've said before that my kids love Science, so that is a challenge for me in homeschooling.

I've been blessed the last year and a half to assist my friend, Colleen, in the Science classes she teaches at our co-op. Science just comes naturally for her. She has given me lots of great ideas.

This last week at co-op, I assisted in the Jr. High/High School Anatomy class where she told the kids about laminin. If you aren't familiar with laminin, basically, it's the stuff that holds humans together. Do a search for "laminin". You can check out the pictures of laminin by clicking here. Laminin looks like a cross. She told the kids that although God wants us to believe in Him and take Him on faith, He leaves us evidence of His existence (sometimes) in the smallest places.

Co-op was last Friday, so all of that was still in my mind when the kids and I enjoyed a wonderful live online Science class Monday, Astonishing Atoms. The class was put on by Science Jim, through Currclick. This was a free class, but nonetheless full of content, so that you could get an idea of what to expect in a Science Jim class. In case you're interested, there is another free class on December 22! We signed up for this class a while back, but didn't receive our link to the class for some reason. This time we had no problems.

So, Science Jim was explaining that there are basically two things that everything is made up of: matter and energy...and they are basically the same thing (E=Mc2...thanks, Mr. Einstein!). Then he explains about atoms. Well, I learned about atoms in school, they have a proton, electron, and neutron; atomic number 1 has one of each. I never thought of this before, but my mind was in the right place thanks to Colleen, that an atom is a great example or way to understand the triun (trinity) of God. An atom, unimaginably tiny atom, has three parts to make up the whole atom: proton, neutron, and electron. Our God, unfathomably immense, has three parts to make up the whole: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One of the kids in the class asked where atoms come from. Science Jim was very good to say that people have different beliefs about how things began (I appreciate this, rather than pushing your views on others, even if they might be the same), but that atoms have always been in existence, since the beginning. Also, atoms never "die" or go away, they are kind of recycled. Which I think is a good comparison, too. God has always been and He never really goes away. I love that.

Science Jim wanted to "blow our minds" with his figures. He did succeed in blowing minds at our house. When he explained how vast things would have to be to make a scale model of an atom where we could see the nucleus with our unaided eyes...wow! If you want to know what he told us, you should attend his class! I think this is a class that any age would enjoy (unless you've learned it all already).

Christmas Caroling

Sunday evening the whole family went Christmas Caroling with a large group from our church. This was very different from Christmas Caroling we'd done in the past. Growing up the only place we ever Christmas Caroled was with my school honor choir a the local old folks (retirement) homes. The kids and I had went Christmas Caroling with a local homeschool support group, two years in a row.

This year we went out door Christmas Caroling! And we even got Thomas to go! The experience was a bit similar, because the neighborhood across from our church is retirement housing! How funny. You get more of a range of ages in retirement housing though.

There were a few people I think were home that didn't come to the door. There were a few people who came to the door that were reluctant to answer or stay for very long. There were at least a dozen people who came to the door that were very happy to see us, smiled, stayed to listen, even thanked us, and wished us a Merry Christmas. We had a very nice time. The temperature even cooperated; it was a balmy 40 degrees. Well, balmy compared to the Tuesday before we the temperature was about 14 degrees.

At one point, Ellie went with the pastor and part of the group, we turned and went with the leaders of our caroling group. I was just going to get Ellie and bring her back, but Thomas reminded me that my whole ideas was for this to be a family event. So, we all went to get Ellie. Well, we wound up staying with that part of the group and had the most doors opened with smiling faces during that time.

Afterwards, we all went back to the church for hot chocolate, coffee, and treats. One smart mom (not me, I brought cookies and banana chocolate chip muffins) brought carrots and celery to balance out the sugar. That was a nice time, too, just getting to visit with people. We don't have that opportunity very often, seems like there's always something to do, or somewhere to go.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Birthdays and Busy

We've be so busy lately. I know everyone is this time of year. Our birthdays all fall in a row (in the Fall). Mine is September, Thomas is October, and both kids were born in November. Wyatt generally gets to celebrate his birthday with his cousins on his Daddy's side of the family because Thanksgiving is our "family reunion" time with them.

The trip to my sister-in-law's (and brother-in-law, nephews and niece) was very nice. We rented a GMC Acadia from Hertz. I have to tell you, we really like those guys. We had a couple of bad experiences with another rental company, but people at Hertz were great. The Acadia had tons of room and a built in dvd player.

I made three pairs of moccasins from Tandy Leather kits on the way down, while I was sitting in my roomy heated seat. Best traveling shoes ever! My feet always get cramped and sweaty in tennis shoes, but I was comfy cozy in my brand new moccasins. From left to right are mine, Ellie's, and Wyatt's moccasins.

My beautiful children are now each a year older.

Ellie is now 9 years old.

Wyatt is now 7 years old.

In the midst of holidays and birthdays, Thomas won an award for Outstanding Contributor to USTA Tennis Program.

We've all been working on "renovating" our basement. I finally have a wall that I haven't had around our utility/laundry/workout room for the past 7 years (we had to pull it down because we found out we had termites). Thomas is busy doing trim work and I am busy painting walls, floors, and the ceiling. What is done so far is beautiful. Our project might not seem like much to some people, but we spend a lot of time down here and I know we're really going enjoy the changes.

Of course, all the normal life is going on with jobs, Civil War Kids Club, Awana, Co-op, school, Bible study, tennis, etc. There's never a dull day. It's literally freezing cold here in the heartland; chill ya to the bone cold. We have ice and snow still on the ground, but it is not to bad for driving, even on the gravel roads. Thomas said that he thought of Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter when he walked into work the other day. He has such a long walk that he was wishing he had hay bales to walk through like Pa Ingalls.

Much slower than I wish, I'll keep on trying to keep this updated.