Monday, July 18, 2016

We Passed!

Nate got his amateur radio license a few months ago and challenged Toby that if he studied hard he could take the Technician test and get a license too. Nate helped Tobias understand frequency, wavelength, calculating voltage/resistance/current, safety, text-taking skills, FCC rules and a lot of new vocabulary.
There are 350 questions to study for the Technician level exam; some are calculations and some are simply memorizing various rules and terms. They studied a different topic each night like FCC rules or Ohm's law.
With the test date approaching quickly, I helped Tobias review some things during the day. I even took a practice test and nearly passed. So Friday night I decided that I would take the test with him on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon, we had our number 2 pencils and calculators ready to go, filled out all the paperwork, and began the 35-question test. I finished and passed, and then Toby finished up his text. The text administrators counted up his wrong answers and I could see they wanted him to pass. They got up to 9 wrong answers (the maximum you are allowed), and then checked the last column of questions, which had NO mistakes! Whew! We both passed. The test administrator said they had never seen someone so young pass before.
Now we wait for our call signs to appear in the FCC database, and then we are allowed to be on the air.
I'm so proud of the hard work Tobias put in and all the things he now knows about electronics, waves, and more. He has a small radio on the way to use.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Spring 2016


From "When Early March Seems Middle May" by James Whitcomb Riley
When through the twigs the farmer tramps, 
And troughs are chunked beneath the trees, 
And fragrant hints of s'gar-camps  Astray in every breeze, 
 And early March seems middle-May,
The Spring is coming round this way.

We didn't harvest any maple syrup this spring, but we did plant raspberries, kale, elderberries, blueberries, garlic, and peas. We have large baby bunnies and tiny baby bunnies, and a handful of weeks of school work left for the year.

Today we sang "Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad", reviewed some Spanish sentences and Sunday school Bible verses, Tobias and Malachi drew flowers (an indoor one that was on our table) in their nature journals, Tobias read "St. George and the Dragon" and practiced piano, we read a poem and the Bible, and now a serious train-building session is in the works. Later today (aka nap time) we hope to read about Pope Gregory and practice violin.


Park time last week


Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Tempests and Frogs and Ceasars, Oh My!

Our family is 11 weeks into our homeschool school year, and it's only October. I rightfully anticipated a crazy August and September due to moving and a long road trip, so we got an early start. Although we missed a few details here and there, we kept chugging through our main readings and activities through it all. It has provided a nice constant, and on top of that I think everyone is learning and enjoying themselves.

This year Tobias is in 1st grade and we are using Ambleside Online. It is a freely provided curriculum plan built by a volunteer committee based on the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason. She was a British educator whose principles included a belief that children are not just receptacles for intellectual facts, but they have a God-given ability and desire to learn ideas and digest a high-quality feast of knowledge. People following her philosophy generally try to follow her ideals of cultivating good habits (especially the habit of attention), relatively short lessons, time in nature, "living books" (not watered down or summarized already for the child, written by people who care about the subject), and having students narrate back a summary or response to what was read rather than worksheets or quiz-type questioning about details.

A typical day for us includes:
  • 9:00 Singing time: Hymn and folk song or Spanish song
  • Math: We use Miquon math worksheets with some blocks/rods that go with them, or Khan Academy on the computer
  • Independent reading. Tobias just finished the My Father's Dragon series and Because of Winn-Dixie.
  • A Poem a day: Today we read October's Party
  • Handwriting
  • Spanish video
  • Piano practice
  • Bible memory work, or sometimes work on memorizing something else like a poem
  • Once or twice a week: Nature study with journals, a craft or useful skill (currently origami), drawing
  • Readings from the Ambleside "chart". Readings are assigned by the week, and can be divided into whatever days we want. They cover history, literature, geography, Bible, and more. This week we're on Week 10, so today we read "The Frogs who Wished for a King" from Aesop's fables, and "Prince Darling" from the Blue Fairy book.
  • We are also supposed to focus on one composer and artist every 12-week term, and for right now we have just listened to a Brahms playlist and haven't done the artist study yet (oops)
Believe it or not, that takes 2-3 hours depending on the length of the readings and how many interruptions we have. Play, errands, chores, and meals fill up the rest of the day for him.


There are of course lows ("I don't remember anything." and "NO. 3 - 4 has to equal ZERO!" being among them), and those lovely braggable moments where your child declares that Shakespeare's Tempest was even better than A Midsummer Night's Dream (we read children's adaptations), and everything in between. Overall, very happy with how it is going so far!

“The question is not, -- how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education -- but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”  -Charlotte Mason

Friday, June 05, 2015

A: 1 Year Old

Toby explains to me "It's called the first birthday, but it's really the second birthday because on the first one he was born. Because what do you call the day you were born? A birthday, the least funnest birthday."

Regardless of how you count the birthdays and which one is most fun, Avery is 1 year old!

photo by Tobias
He loves wrestling, peekaboo, music, climbing onto things, giving people 5 and stopping to smell the roses. His brothers assert that his favorite color is orange, so orange cupcakes are on the menu for his birthday. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Items @ Soaps, Stitches & Such

Soaps, Stitches & Such is a favorite Etsy shop of mine. The soaps, body butters, and other items are made from skin-friendly and safe ingredients.
I chose a variety of soaps for Christmas gifts and had a fun time deciding who would get which scent. I really wanted to keep the lemongrass soap but I resisted! And I was also tempted to eat the chocolate mint soap because it looked so fudgy. And my niece actually did lick the cupcake soap (currently unavailable, but more cupcake soaps are coming soon).


One of the new products that I would love to smell is the grapefruit body butter. Our family just finished eating our way through a case of yummy grapefruits and I am missing the smell already.


The soaps and body butters look like great gift ideas for end of the school year teacher appreciation, Mother's Day, or Earth Day. If you are in the Tri-Cities, WA you can arrange for local pickup to save on shipping.

If you would like to be alerted to special offers from this shop, you can sign up for their mailing list and get a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $10 or more. In case you are just skimming at this point, I re-awaken you with the word COUPON. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

26 Weeks of Kindergarten

Tobias confused a neighbor lady the other day when she asked what grade he was in and he said "done with Kindergarten but not in first grade yet". Finally she asked "well, will you go to school tomorrow morning" (it was Sunday) and she figured out he is home schooled.

I've declared summer here and we've shifted into a less formal daily routine of "just" reading, chores, piano, outdoor play, and one special thing each day like baking on Mondays, teatime on Tuesdays, etc.

We were blessed to cover a lot of material in 26 weeks of Kindergarten that I will list below, but more importantly, I see a lot of things "clicking" for Tobias, academically and in maturity. He follows along when solving math problems with Nate such as "how many hours until tomorrow starts?", enjoys curating many musical playlists, and is getting to be a help with chores around the house.

In addition to the books and songs already listed in the first 18 weeks, we focused on these things this year:

Hymns:
All Creatures of our God and King
O Worship the King

Folk/Children's Songs:

Bible:
Vos Story Bible:  Jacob buys the Birthright - Joseph's Dreams Come True
The Jesus Storybook Bible:
    The Singer - A dream of Heaven 
    (Sermon on the Mount through Revelation)

Math:
Counting by 2's, 5's and 10's up to 100 or more
Miquon Math continuing through E-12
Khan Academy: mastered 35% of the Early Math skills

History:
Pioneering on the Plains (Edith McCall)

Handwriting:
finished lowercase letters from Delightful Handwriting

Piano:
Music Tree: through page 41

Reading:
Daily reading (he made it to 100 books and we went out for ice cream!).


Literature:
The Old Man and his Dog (W.G. van de Hulst)
Roxaboxen
The Lost Photograph (W.G. van de Hulst)
The Borrowers
Pinocchio

Other highlights included a trip to the Planetarium, hike on Bateman Island, ECHO end of the year program, building electronics things, and many other projects.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A: 9 months


Could it be that this little guy, in the past month, has expanded his palate from milk and popcorn to include liver and onions, peppers, apple cores, and ginger ale (just a taste!)? Could it be that he wiggles for Dad to pick him up and then gives him a big open-mouth kiss? Could it be that he has started walking? And added teeth 7 and 8?

He loves greeting the fish in the bathroom every morning, being outdoors, stroller rides, having "5 Little Monkeys" sung to him (complete with being bonked on the head), playing "Give me 5!", destroying mini-blinds, and sneakily pickpocketing phones while nursing.