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Friday, April 2, 2010

A good half day

Today was a very short day. I was a half day for public school and I am still watching JD’s friend in the afternoons so we went on a half day too. My nose is going crazy today. I must have sneezed at least 10 times during our devotion and then again during geometry. I feel like “Sneezy” from the Seven Dwarfs. I figure it must be allergies. But I’m not allergic to anything that I know of. But these past couple of years spring time has been difficult. Everything from breaking out into hives to sneezing my head off.

The devotion today was about the U.S. mint that was established in 1792. It asked JD what he would do if he had tons of money. Of course he would buy lots and lots of toys! It warned us that the love of money can lead to greed, theft, broken relationships, anger, hatred, cheating, and even murder. Money itself isn’t bad. In fact, God gives us money and other resources to use FOR HIM. But loving it and craving it is bad.

We still have not made it to the library yet so we didn’t read anything together. I had JD use that time to clean his room for his afternoon “play date.” A friend from our church asked if we wanted to come over to her house today and I told her I watch another child in the afternoons. So I invited her here. JD has a difficult time with his neighborhood “friend.” But if the child JD is playing with is older or a couple of years younger than him he gets along just fine. He hardly ever fights with girls either. This play date was with a girl friend. (Not girlfriend!)

The geometry lesson was about maps and drawings that were drawn miniature. For example: A road atlas shows the road and has a legend that says 2 cm = 10 miles. We had to figure out how many miles it was from point A to point B, and the only distance we had was it was 10 cm. It called for multiplication and division in some cases. We also had to figure out scales size statues to real statues. (I love math about as much as I love the dentist.)

The last topic of our half day was spelling. JD quickly took his test and scored a 100%.

It will be nice not to do any lessons for the next week. JD will be on spring break and we have decided to go to Tennessee for a couple of days. It will just be JD and me, because Jeff just started his new two weeks ago and doesn’t have any leave yet. But what will I do to entertain myself? Stay tuned for our adventures.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Good adventureless day

The devotion today started out “Merry Christmas!” Of course that’s because it’s April Fools day. There are also other types of deception out there that John wrote about in 1 John and they are called “false prophets.” Before listening to anything someone says about God, Jesus, and how to know God personally find out if that person believes that Jesus is God and human. Then check to see if what they say matches what the bible says.

Because we finished the Judy Blume book yesterday I read most of the Easter story to JD today. I started with Palm Sunday. Then, we explored the Last Supper from the meal to the washing of feet. The next reading was when Jesus prayed at Gethsemane. I love that he took the time to pray for us. And that’s about the point where I started losing it. JD went and got me some tissue. It wasn’t just a drip, drip, drip cry. It was take a deep breath and blow. Then, Jesus was arrested and questioned. And finally, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. How I got through the rest of the reading is beyond me. It was about the tussle between the people and Pilate. Then, the crucifixion. We’ll read when Jesus is resurrected on Sunday. After all that Jesus is again “The Reason for the Season.”

The geometry lesson today was about moving shapes around. There were three moves discussed. There was translation which is when you slide an object up, down, left or right. Then there was reflection where you would see a mirror image of an object by flipping in over or up. The last one was rotation where you would turn the object clockwise or counter clockwise in degrees of 90* (¼ turn), 180* (half way), or 270* (¾ turn). They showed an object and asked us what moves it took to get it that way. This was very hard for us. We had to cut paper, draw the image, and perform the moves in order to answer the questions correctly. But JD managed a 100% on the quiz.

The civics lesson was called “Protect and Defend.” It taught JD about what functions the federal, state, and local governments provide. It taught him about national defense, property rights, and the protection of a competitive market so that one business can not be a monopoly.

We received a beautiful e-card today and returned the favor for our email/snail mail lesson. JD had fun looking at the different interactive e-cards and creating the messages for the “perfect” cards.

The language arts lesson had one passage to read and it had 49 “paragraphs.” JD freaked out when he started reading it and then scrolled down to the bottom to see how many “paragraphs” there were. Some of those “paragraphs” were one sentence long. The lesson was a Think aloud lesson. It was a level three, parts two, fiction reading about cat making fun of dogs. It must have been entertaining because once he got over the length of it he was quietly reading. (I was doing the dishes.)

We finished all of the above before lunch so I was really happy. We took a normal length lunch and went outside expecting another adventure but there were not to be had. “Shiny Black Butt” made an appearance but there was a verbal agreement on my part that we would leave each other alone today. JD asked if we were going outside to do farming (gardening). I went outside for just a little bit because it was hot at lunch time and for the most part I was sitting still in the flower garden just pulling those pesky weeds. The bee kept coming up about 1 ½ feet from my face to see what I was doing. I tried to get three pictures but it was too quick.

I really had nothing planned for science today and coincidentally enough a science program was on the Discovery channel. JD asked if we could watch that for science and I agreed. It was a show about primordial dwarfism. There was a “Tom Thumb” guy on the show. He was not a “dwarf” per say. His body and limbs were anatomically the correct size for his body. There are only about 100 primordial dwarfs around today. Doctor have yet to narrow down the gene that creates this type of dwarfism.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Adventurous day

The devotion today was about the Eiffel Tower. The lattice work of iron was built for the Paris Exposition in 1889. It stands 984 feet tall. Of course the Eiffel Tower was not the first tower man built to honor their own achievements. After the Noah flood they too built a tower. The tower of Babel. But the people of that time also built it for the wrong reasons. They did not build it for God’s glory, rather their own. It’s ok for us to have honors in sports and academics or whatever but when those honors take the place of God’s place that’s a monument that will never last.

We finished reading the book “Tales of Fourth Grade Nothing” today. It left us both wanting the sequel. There are three other books about the same boy and his annoying brother Fudge. So looks like we’re going to the library soon. Reading is so much fun. JD likes it when I read to him so he doesn’t have to concentrate on the reading and can stay busy forming the pictures. (Truth is, there aren’t many more days left where we’ll snuggle on the couch and read.) I hope one day JD will love reading as much as his daddy does. JD is still working on his March creative book report.

Today in geometry we learned lines of symmetry and points of symmetry. A line of symmetry is when you have a heart shape for example, and you fold it in half and have the exact same drawing on the other side. A point of symmetry is a square where you can fold from one point (corner) to the other point (corner) and have the exact same shape. Then it turned the object and asked us at what degree did the lines of symmetry meet. JD understood this lesson pretty quickly and moved to the quiz. He scored an 80%, but I really think sometimes the quizzes are not always accurate. He really should have gotten a 90%.

I forgot to set my alarm last night so I woke up late today. To keep on schedule we did the word bank lesson together. The words were overt, quaint, tawdry. JD looked up the words and I wrote the definition. He also made up the sentences and I wrote them down.

Our mundane tasks have quickly turned into daily outdoor adventures with God’s creatures. Yesterday it was those never ending queen ants (which are gone now)and today it was flying creatures that dive bombed us when we went outside during lunch. So you have the great fortune of hearing about today’s adventure that was written as JD‘s journal entry. I wrote one sentence and JD wrote another. Here is our collaboration that we have titled “The Bee Sting.” Today while out on break we became the “Bee Task Force.” We had hornets, wasps, and different kinds of bees. But the elusive bee we were tracking was affectionately named “Shiny Black Butt.” They had outnumbered us 3 to 2. Earlier in the day one scared JD and he scraped his big left toe. JD hates bees and that’s why we called out the “Task Force.” (That and mom had to get revenge for the toe episode.) They outwitted us, outsmarted us, and outnumbered us. If we had daddy here we would have had a fighting chance. Mom lost her bedroom slippers while out on a short trek that suddenly turned into a quick jaunt back in the house when “Shiny Black Butt” chased after her. She unfortunately swatted at it and missed. JD was cracking up and said, “You lost your slippers. What if they fly off with them?” Mom said, “In life sometimes you have to make sacrifices.” Then mom said, “I think I hear them laughing at me” and she wrangled up the courage to try again. This time she left the slippers inside and lost the top to the fly swatter on the trampoline. We came into the house and designed a Texas sized fly swatter. Ironically, we found a plastic sign in the garage that read, “Think Safety First” to use as the swatter part. We taped the sign to the fly swatter and went back outside. Not to be defeated by “Shiny Black Butt” mom stalked him until he spotted her. So as not to take any glory from mom JD took refuge in the car all the while scouting and shouting “Shiny Black Butt alert!” Mom unsuccessfully swatted at least five or six times but “Shiny Black Butt” got the best of us and chased us back into the house. Where we are currently being held captive. (**Note to self…use extreme caution when Googling pictures of a “Shiny Black Butted” bee…I really should have known better.)

Today for music I asked JD to figure out “Jesus Loves Me” on the organ but he kept playing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and singing “Jesus Loves Me” with it. (It’s really difficult to sing that…it’s like trying to lick your own elbow.) So I went online and found the sheet music in beginner form. We of course had to get the notes figured out with the world wide web. Thanks internet. So now we can add “Jesus Loves Me” to JD’s repertoire of music that he can entertain company with. What a special talent from God. (Did you try to lick your elbow?)

The history lesson today was a review of Lewis and Clark. I like how this program does two history lessons that closely resemble one another before the chapter quizzes. Therefore, we relearned the two year adventures of Lewis and Clark and moved onto the chapter quiz and scored a 100%.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

100% hilarious

The devotion today was called “Who’s in Control?” Today is apparently also “I am in Control Day.” It talked about how we should be glad when some people are in charge like dentists or pilots. You most certainly want to know that a trained and experienced pilot controls the plane or that a professional dentist is about to fill your cavity. However, we can quickly get into trouble like King Nebuchadnezzar, when we have the “I am” in control attitude. He was ultimately forced to live like a cow for seven years. Just always remember who is really in control.

We read two more chapters in the book “Tales of Fourth Grade Nothing” today. There are just two more chapters left and we’ll be done with the book. This book is really bringing back memories of the first time I read it MANY years ago. On another note, JD really likes comic strip books. He started reading a really big book of Peanuts comic strips, but we had to bring it back to the library. He also likes reading the Sunday funnies and comic books with superheroes in it. However, he recently discovered a very humorous comic strip called “Calvin and Hobbes.” It is all about the adventures of a boy and his imaginary-come-to-life-friendly-tiger stuffed toy. Calvin is always on the verge of making his parents mad with his antics.

JD loves Calvin and thinks his antics are cool and funny. It says, "Mom and dad don't value hard work and originality as much as they say they do. (Oh help me next winter.)

Geometry was not that hard today. I prompted JD with, “Geometry looks fun and easy to do today. It’s all about plotting on a grid like the army guys do.” Once we knew where the pair of numbers met we could find the point at which they were. The lesson expanded to us finding the point where the values were both inside the triangle and inside the rectangle. JD got a hold of the lesson quickly and ran with it. He breezed right through the lesson and then the quiz and got a 100%.

The social studies lesson was a type of review. Last week JD learned the regions along the east coast. The three regions are the New England states, Mid-Atlantic States, and Southern states. We got through this lesson quickly and he moved onto the chapter quiz. He scored a 100%.

Language arts was about interpreting charts and graphs. There were two passages for him to read. One was a passage about the Civil war and the other was about sleep stages. The questions were of course focused on what the information was in the charts and graphs. JD is doing so well with comprehension. He scored another 100%.

To day in science we sat together and read about different accidental scientists. We learned about Edward Jenner who invented the smallpox vaccine, Louis Pasteur who invented a vaccine against chicken cholera and invented pasteurizing milk, Elijah McCoy who invented the automatic oil cup for trains (also where the phrase ‘the Real McCoy’ comes from), and finally Marie Curie who died from Leukemia from too much exposure to radioactive material during her and her husband’s experiments with cancer killing x-rays. JD and I are both a little discouraged that our four slices of bread did not mold. Not one little piece has ever molded and the bread was already a week old when we started the experiment. But I’m relieved to finally have it off my counter and out of the refrigerator. Today was the last day to chart the results. (Whew.)

For the email/snail mail lesson I wanted JD to email Grammy. I wanted him to tell her about our “Queen Ant Adventures” while I took a shower. I told him not to send the email until I looked at it. One because I knew it would be shorter than an S.O.S. in Morse code and two I knew it would be lacking vital information. JD “accidentally” sent this email with no signature. “Ant problem, we had so many ants we ran out of bug spray, we had to use hammers. They came out of the walls! And they were queen ants. I saw them when I was going in, there were about 50 ants.” (That’s actually pretty darned hilarious now that I’m reading it out loud, but I just knew Grammy would be freaking out.) Her immediate response to this email was “WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!” (Still laughing out loud…ok she freaked out….probably thinking “Are they hammering down their walls and ingesting bug spray?” (That’s so funny. Tears…) When I got out of the shower I asked to see his progress. That’s when he broke the news that he accidentally sent the email. (Ok breathing.) I saw the email he sent. (Ok breathing some more.) We sat down to sequence the events, lengthen the writing, and add vital details. Here’s what we sent out. “This morning while was on break I saw so many queen ants. I saw them when I was going in. There were about 50 queen ants. I shouted to my mother and said, “There are a whole bunch of ants out here.” She ran and got the bug spray. We had so many ants we ran out of bug spray. We had to use the hammers next to us. The ants were coming out of the walls outside. We thought we had killed them all, but we didn't. My mom got a thing that was called ‘bug bomb.’ She sealed the area with plastic and turned on the bug bomb. Spray went into the cracks and the ants came falling out of the walls. And we were finally done. Jonathan.” (I’m still laughing thinking Lyndell must be thinking the ants are in the house chasing my baby around and their making holes in the walls trying to slaughter them.) Oh I needed that laughter didn’t you…?

Monday, March 29, 2010

A yo-yo day

The day started out good with the devotion was about Niagara Falls getting frozen over way back in 1848. (Did you know it was the second largest waterfall in the world? I didn’t know that. I have never seen it but I would like to some day.) Anyway back to the devotion. The water completely stopped even dripping for a couple of hours. A water jam on upper river caused this 20 story tall waterfall to come to a screeching halt. It was an excellent picture of unconfessed sin in our lives. Our sin completely cuts us off or separates from God. His love, grace and forgiveness cannot flow through us because our sin is acting like an ice jam.

We read “The Tales of Fourth Grade Nothing” together again today. We got through two more chapters of Peter’s life. Peter is a nine year old boy with a 3 year old brother. Most of the book is about the little brother and what a handful he is. Jonathan likes the way the book is so humorous.

This is where the yo-yo day began. Because he was upset about his army guys breaking he brought that negative attitude to our school lesson. The geometry lesson today taught more about angles. This time it wanted us to measure the angles. We already knew what acute (less than 90*), right (90*), and obtuse (more than 90*) angles were but they wanted us to be able to know of the 180* on a triangle what angle was point A, B, and C. It had to total 180*. Again, this is hard to explain. JD started our lesson in a bad mood and it transferred into the lesson. We of course were still in the “teaching” part (not the quiz) when he said, “I’m always WRONG!” I had to mention we were being taught at the moment that the quiz was not even started yet. Once he got the first question correct on the quiz I said, “See you got that one right, and the second, and…” (I know we’ve been down this road before and I can only come up with so many ways to let him know he’s smart and still LEARNING!) He got to the quiz and sailed through it. Unfortunately, he sailed so quickly through one question that he forgot to measure and missed that question. I think he thought he could just eyeball it. (**Note to self…the lesson was called “measuring angles” not eyeballing angles.)

JD is doing much better with keyboarding but today I caught him looking at the keyboard. I did get onto him and this made him upset and mad. He tried to get “fresh” with me by not even looking at the words he needed to type on the screen. I got onto him again. Was the lesson fun for him? I don’t know…but by the end he was happy again. (Getting dizzy watching this yo-yo.) Today he relearned “R” and “U.”

I tried to make the journal fun today. And it was a huge hit! The other day I had him write an email to our World Vision sponsor child named Happy. Here it is…Hi, Happy! How are you? Hey, do you know what the word nine means? It means no, in German. How is school over there? I'm in the 5th grade. My school is fun. I am home schooled. How's the weather? Our weather is fine. It is cold here. How's your family? My family is good. How many people live in your house? In my house there are three people and two dogs. How are the crops there? Are they doing good? We go to the grocery store for our food. We haven't planted any crops yet. We plant because we want to or just for fun. Well, see you later. Today before journal time I researched Zambia and got some facts. I wrote a letter to JD like I was Happy. One of the questions in back to JD was “Do you eat your dogs when they get big enough?” (Gross I know, but in many countries they do eat dogs. Sorry it’s a fact of life.) (Happy) told JD he spoke Bemba but was working on English. Happy is currently in the 7th grade and has recently taken his exams so says the real letter he wrote us this month. (Happy) wanted to know if home school meant his house was full of students. (Happy) wanted to know what a grocery store was. They of course plant crops for food. (Happy) attached a map of Africa and asked for a map of where JD lives. JD loved this and happily agreed to write him back making sure to address the dog issue first. Here’s JD’s response. Hey Happy. This is Jonathan from the United States of America (U.S.A.) First thing’s first, I don’t eat my dogs. I play with them because they are fun to play with. Do you have a dog? You should play with it. A grocery store is were we get our food from. It has all the food we would need on shelves. And we buy enough for the week. Home school means I am the only student at my home school. There is one student and one teacher here. My mom is my teacher. I am in the fifth grade. The spring weather gets up to 75* up here and the summer gets up to 100*. I live in the United States, in a state called North Carolina. It’s on the east coast. I hope to hear from you soon, Jonathan. This took a little bit longer than I thought but nothing like the time it takes to create a story from thin air.

The on-line art lesson was working today so I sat in on some of it. It taught him terms like: hue, value, and saturation. (Um, what?) Hue is the colored wheel. Value is whether is gets darker or lighter on a black and white scale. Saturation in the number of squeezes or drops of color you would add to change the color. I love these art lessons. It‘s all in cartoon characters and funny voices. There‘s always things for JD to click on and create in order to learn and practice. The was a small quiz after the lesson and he mastered the lesson.

For the last lesson of the day JD got 14 new words today. Most of them are easy enough words to figure out. Like I have said before JD does not spell phonetically. He just learns words at his own pace. These words were easy enough for him to sound out without any special spelling rules. They were words like draft, grasp, and clamp. During our initial can-you-spell-these-words time he only missed 6 out of 14. Yeah!

He is currently working on his creative book report as homework. He ended up doing a small passport. I went online and found a young marine picture for the picture on the passport. I found passport stamps and have them on all the pages. Each page in the passport book is something different like: title, author, setting, etc. He has until Wednesday to complete this. Funny story though…One of the questions on the inside cover of the passport was “sex.” Meaning of course male or female. JD said, “I don’t think I should say this word.” I said, “What word?” He pointed to it. I said, “Sex?” He hid his face in his bent elbow and mumbled “yeah.” I said, “Is Adam a male or female?” After I knew he was shy about the word sex I whispered “sex” and keep typing my blog. He would slug my arm and sing “mommy!” I said, “Come on and say it. Everybody’s saying it.” (Slug!)