Weekly Wrap-Up: Advent Events

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As images of quiet waiting drift through my head, frequently accompanied by flashes of silent snow falling, I realize (once again) that my image will not match my reality. The snow part should be my first clue - we're in Georgia. The boys apparently do not entertain thoughts of stillness, and neither do the coordinators of their various activities. So we will wait with somewhat noisy excitement instead.

Part of that excitement is fed by the presence of my husband's parents, who arrive every year on during the first week of December to spend Christmas with us. They live in upstate New York, so we only see them a couple of times a year - I don't blame the children for being excited about that. We just love having them here.

I finally broke down and bought a new advent wreath this year. In years past, I've thrown together a homemade version using a window wreath, a plate, and some candles. I am not crafty and the wreath was evidence. Mercifully, it caught on fire during last year's Christmas Eve party. I'll be using long-burning candles with the new one. The children love to eat by it's light each night while we read an advent book that I've seen on homeschool recommendation lists for years: Jotham's Journey.

The book offers a reading for each night of Advent, and then a Scripture reading and summary that tie the chapter into some greater spiritual truth. It's quite an exciting story and might even be too intense for some little ones, but the boys are loving it and begging for one more chapter each night. (But then we'd be off schedule, we explain...)

In between the visiting, Advent observing, decorating, baking, birthday partying, choir practicing, etc., we have had to make time for school. This may be a greater struggle for me than for the boys, but we're managing.

The past week's unit in Biblioplan covered Persia and the Ottoman Turks. Because we're studying the "early modern" period this year, which covers early American history, Biblioplan includes the study of important individuals in American history in the units focusing on the history of other countries. This week we talked about Daniel Boone, and Bearclaw is enjoying Daniel Boone, Boy Hunter.

He also completed the novel A Lion To Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla for his literature class. As a follow-up assignment, the student's were to make a time capsule representing one of the main characters in the book. Bearclaw chose Jemmy and turned in his project on Wednesday.

Speaking of reading, Shortbread read his first early-reader book!! He was so happy with himself, and I'm really looking forward to all of the wonderful books he's going to be able to enjoy reading soon.

In his kindergarten class, they focus mainly on language skills, and he's doing very well. If anything he's a little bored (or maybe I am), because some of the activities we're asked to do at home seem unessesary. Still, because he's picking up reading without any tears or arguments, I'm keeping an open mind about the effectiveness of some of the lessons.

Bearclaw's language skills are improving, and he's mastered quite a number of grammar concepts. His spelling grade is excellent, but I'm working to get him to be more careful when doing his work, so that the progress he's made in spelling will be reflected in his writing. As for vocabulary - he's doing well, but the jury is still out on Wordly Wise for me.

With all of the focus we're putting on humanities, in order to complete the assignments from our hybrid school, I've neglected math somewhat. Bearclaw is actually moving along in his Sinapore workbook (he's working on fractions), but he's forgotten some of his mutiplication tables, so I need to do a better job with daily drills. I'm hardly working on math at all with Shortbread. It's not him; it's me - I think I'm tired of the curriculum and how it's structured. It may be time to move from Shiller to Singapore for him.

Our two-family science co-op hasn't met lately, becasue of all of the holiday activities, but we plan to finish up the physics book from Real Science 4 Kids soon, and then after Christmas it's chemsitry! (All four boys in the group have images of explosions, I just know it...)

As I've been typing this over several days, we've gotten quite few snow flurries. Maybe my images of Advent were'nt so far-fetched after all...

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