Weekly Wrap-Up # 16: The One with a Couple More Birthdays

Sadly, I haven't posted here since last week's wrap-up. Of course, I am busier now with our home learning than I was during the summer and since my Teachers' Tots kids have returned. I have done some other writing - my next Celebrate Kids article, which will be published on Tuesday, and a piece for the fall edition of my church's women's newsletter, The Second Cup. But I want to get back on track with the writing calendar I've used for the past several months, and that means at least two posts a week here (for which I have lots of material floating in my head!)...not to mention bi-monthly articles for The ChatterBee - on which I am woefully behind! - and monthly updates on Hollenbeck Home Learning: 2010-2011, my portfolio blog for the year. The trick now, though, is to avoid beating myself up for falling behind, just pick up where I am, and do the best I can...knowing I won't be perfect. And, the thing is - whereas up until just a couple of years ago, I would have "preached" that grace but not bought into it - I'm now actually comfortable with that last sentence!

And so, to quote my state's motto: "Forward!"

I've also fallen behind with my following - of other blogs, that is. I like to check in every few days with what my bloggy friends have been saying, but I haven't been out to Google Reader for a couple of weeks...meaning that I currently have 784 unread posts there! Yes, I follow a lot of blogs...but, no, I won't be up all night reading everything. Again, grace will abound, and I'll probably read just what's been written in the last day or so, comment on a few, and try to keep more current this coming week.

We had a fun week continuing with our study of Mexico through My Father's World: Exploring Countries and Cultures (ECC). We played the Geography Game a couple more times, and I'm happy to note that the girls are mastering the locations of the North American countries; on Friday, when they played with Jeff, they only mixed up Belize and Puerto Rico.

We also learned a very enjoyable new song, El Coquí, and the girls tried their hands at Huichol-inspired yarn art.

But the highlight of this week's geography undoubtedly came on Thursday, when we tried nopalitos, a type of cactus that some Mexican families harvest and eat in various ways. In keeping with Family Pictures/Cuadros de familia by Carmen Lomas Garza, one of our favorite bilingual read-alouds, I fried them up with scrambled eggs.

All the girls were good sports about it, each trying a "no thank you helping" without complaint - and thankfully, I'd also made a plateful of cinnamon-sugar tortillas to go along. But the nopalitos, which my home-educating friend, Anna, from California had graciously sent us, were pickled and, therefore, rather slimy and very tangy. So, though no one liked them raw, Abigail - who is always more game for "adventurous" food - didn't mind them with the eggs. Still, even she said it's not something she needed to have again...and, well, Rachel's reaction speaks for itself.

Abigail also finished the project for her second book of the year, Pioneer Cat by William H. Hooks. She made a book box and shared it with us on Wednesday night.

And both girls wrote and shared stories based on this week's picture study from our language book, Language Lessons for the Very Young (LLVY). Unfortunately, LLVY doesn't credit the paintings it uses so I don't know the artist or title of this piece, but it was the inspiration for the girls' creativity.

The Little House at the Edge of the Forest
by Rachel (Age 9)

Once upon a time, there lived a pretty young girl in the Village of Spring Lake. And every day she helped her mother with the dinner, and sometimes helped the maids clean. Her name was Rosebud.

One day, she was in the garden of their small village house, and she heard her mother calling. She went into the house immediately to help her mother do whatever her mother was calling for. It turned out, her mother wanted her to carry a basket of oranges to her father and brothers in the field.

On the way, she remembered that, after she did this, she would go to the lake to fish to get some trout for dinner. But, before she could head to the lake, her mother asked her to peel potatoes. After she peeled the potatoes, she went down to her friend’s house.

When she got to her friend’s house, she and her friend went down to the lake to wade. When her friend was running down to the lake, she tripped and fell head-over-heels, head-over-heels into the lake. Then, when her friend got out of the lake, she was soaking wet, and she jumped up and down and screamed and screamed.

Rosebud was waiting on the shore with some dry clothes she had brought. Then they went swimming.

After they were done swimming, they went by the forest to see if they could catch some rabbits. But, before they could catch a rabbit, they saw a gloomy old house at the edge of the woods. Then they went by the house, and they both peered in a window. Even though it was ugly on the outside, it was beautiful on the inside.

They went in to look for the owner. Then they found her; she was a pretty, little girl. She had been tending the fire. And then they took her back to Rosebud’s house.

Rosebud’s mother asked the little girl if she wanted to be Rosebud’s sister, and the little girl agreed. When she was a little girl, she had lost her parents in a big thunderstorm. She had come to the little house to be sheltered from the rain. She figured she would find her parents after the rain stopped, but she couldn’t find her parents anywhere. They had gone in the other direction looking for shelter.She went as far as she could, but she still couldn’t find her parents. So she went back to the little house and made it her house.

A couple days later, Rosebud, her friend, and the little girl went back to the little house to gather up all her things. After they had gathered up all her things, they placed them in Rosebud’s house. The little girl was named Jessica, and sometimes she helped Rosebud with the housework and sometimes helped her with going to the lake to catch fish. And she also helped Rosebud carry cherries, strawberries, peaches, pineapple, watermelon, apples, bananas, oranges, and grapes to the men in the field. And the little girl, who knew the forest a lot, showed Rosebud all around so they could find fresh water springs and fruit trees.

Then a witch heard about the little girl and the forest with fruits and rivers. She decided to go and gather up as much fruit as she could. The witch was not a bad witch; she just wanted food. She gathered up as much food as she could, and then she went back to her house.

Back at Rosebud’s house, they were having a big dinner. One day, Rosebud was going to the fruit and so was the witch. The witch had her eyes directed on a big fruit on the top of the tree. So did Rosebud. When they grabbed it at the same time, they both fell to the ground with a thud. When the witch saw that somebody else had wanted the fruit, she took out her pocketknife and cut it in half. And they both went back to their houses, and Rosebud lived happily ever after. And soon the witch had a child of her own, and she named her Peach Blossom. And everyone lived happily ever after.


A Terrible Day
by Abigail (Age 8)

It all started in the morning when Lucille was making breakfast for her children in a homemade pot her husband made.

Her husband was a pottery maker, and they had two bunnies for pets. All the children loved the bunnies. They had a parakeet, too, that was up in a cage.

She was cooking outside because it was a very nice day. She had a house her husband made, and mostly everything her husband had made.

Then one day when she was frying eggs, she burned her hand on the pot and cried, “Yow!” because it burned her hand. And then she ran inside and rinsed it off with extra cold water. And then it got so cold she wanted to burn herself again. But she did not!

Then she heard her husband making a new pot. When she heard a big crash and ran into his workshop, she saw that a pot had fallen off the shelf and shattered into a million pieces. “Oh, drat!” she said. “First frying eggs and then a broken pot!” she thought.

And then suddenly her thoughts were interrupted by crying upstairs.

It was her little girl, Emma, who had been pushed down by her big sister, Emily. And then Lucille started yelling, “What a terrible day!”

Finally, when it was nighttime, everything was peaceful and quiet. And they all went to bed and she fell asleep immediately. And the moon came out and stars shone and the whole family fell asleep.

Our Teachers' Tots unit study this week - in order to review the letter and master the sound of M - revolved around the moon. So the girls and I enjoyed many books on the topic, including several by Frank Asch. My objectives were to help the girls understand that the moon revolves around Earth and that it doesn't make its own light but simply reflects the light of the sun. And, spiritually speaking, we talked about how we are like the moon because - if we know Jesus, who is like the sun - we can reflect His Light into the world. Our key truth was I am a light in the world.

As with last week, I was able to adjust Rachel and Abigail's art project to suit Anna and N.'s unit. Thus, they made yarn art, too; I simply had each tell me a word that starts with /m/ and drew pictures for them to fill in.

Our great Teachers' Tots excitement this week came on Friday, when Anna turned four. I've known Anna since she was eight weeks old - I took this picture on her first day with us, when Rachel was just five and Abigail was four.

So this was a major event for us all, as she and her parents have become almost like extended family to us, and we took great joy in marking the occasion with her - including her "Car Seat Prison Freedom Day" and first ride in a booster.

That was a special day...but even more significant was a milestone for Abigail last Saturday, September 18: her spiritual birthday, when we marked the fourth anniversary of the day she accepted Christ as her Savior. As with Rachel's spiritual birth a few weeks earlier, I had the supreme privilege of praying with Abigail right before her bedtime that night and will remember that day just as I do her physical birth. Since then, the Lord has blessed her with an extremely tender heart, a deep sensitivity to others' needs, and a spirit of joy in serving others. In fact, I often stand amazed at her spiritual maturity and can only wonder at what God has in store for her in years to come. Given her heart, I have no doubt it'll be significant for the Kingdom.


Anonymous said...

I love you're blog, Tina! I have it in my reader, and I really enjoy your pics.

I have passed along the "One Lovely Blog" award to you. You can find how to forward it on at my site, www.carlivia.blogspot.com

Monica said...

Love the yarn art. We will be doing ECC next year - so I'll be sure to check back on your weeks. The spiritual birthday is a wonderful idea. My daughter will have her first this Oct. Thanks for sharing!

Queen Bee said...

Tina, I don't think I've ever commented on your blog but I love your ideas and the way you school your girls. I do see you on THL a lot and enjoy your posts. :) I have given you The Versatile Blogger Award so stop by my blog and pick it up when you can!

Love Ya,

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