Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hearts, Codes, Africa, and not being "Enough"

Sometimes I think of this painting:

I changed the title. To me this is "Not Being Enough."

I know it's creepy of me, but I majored in Art History-okay?!

Anyway, I often think about how I'm not enough. I don't do enough reading with my kids, and I have realized how desperately lacking I am when it comes to teaching writing. I don't teach about the gospel and the spirit enough. I don't just have fun with my kids enough. I never clean my house or cook. And now even math is behind because of Africa and getting ready to move.

And yet somehow I find time to read "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" and somehow I have time for Facebook, and somehow I have time for dumb Youtube videos.

I'm just not enough.

Of course, I'm in good company. I think most moms, and especially homeschool moms, feel like they're not enough too.

I went to the elementary school this week. I was putting posters up about my seminar I did. (More on that later,) and I peeked in at this fascinating world that I am not a part of. And you know what? It looked fun, and colourful and like beautiful things were happening.

I doubted myself, and that demon sitting on me told me I was failing and depriving my kids of this place that was so much better than me. But it's too late, because I've failed them so completely.

My seminar was on Dyslexia. Why should I teach about dyslexia and offer "solutions" when I hadn't proved that "solutions" I've used actually work?

Okay pity party over.

I need this blog. Here I post things I did-to reaffirm that I'm actually doing something. So here we go.....

Before I went to Africa, we learned about the Morse Code and the telegraph. We even made a contraption with a telegraph-like switch to practice the Morse Code. The kids loved this, but it was really tricky, and we didn't get much past signalling our names.

I also gave them walkie talkies which I thought they could beep with to do Morse Code as well, but I was too impatient to figure out how to beep, so they just loved playing with them sans Morse Code. This ended up to be awesome, because while I was gone, half of them stayed at one aunties while the rest stayed at another aunties, and they could talk back and forth.

Okay, now for AFRICA!

Wow, talk about an amazing life changing experience. To see what Gregory and Evelyn Van Duyse have created and worked for, and how lives have been changed, and are changing: It's very inspiring and just good. It helped my faith in many different things and ways.

So, long story short: Gregory had always wanted to go to Africa to help starving children. When his (then) youngest child was 4, he figured it was time. They told the mission president of Benin Africa they were coming and they helped the church.

Then Gregory noticed that the main problem was the educated unemployed. Gregory is an Entrepreneur. Why couldn't others be educated to be successful entrepreneurs as well. So he set up a college. Where students are taught english (Benin is French speaking) and then made to read business/self-help books like 7 habits of highly effective people, think and grow rich, anatomy of Peace, the Slight edge etc. and have students come up with their own mission statements and their own businesses they are passionate about.

They must actually get these businesses running, and then Gregory (and now Dustin) go and do a sort of "Dragons Den/Shark Tank" with the student's business and give them investments accordingly.

Dustin became Gregory's business partner shortly after Gregory came back from his initial year in Benin, and now they both go a few times a year.

This was my first time going.

And I kept on feeling like I had stepped out of my life and into a National Geographic Magazine.

This is my homeschool blog, so I won't go on a forever about it, but I was fortunate enough to go with this amazing woman:

Evelyn is amazing. Compassionate,  spiritual, and powerful. It was wonderful to learn and grow from being at her side. Interestingly, she's a homeschool mom who feels like she is "not enough" too. Silly us.

Gregory is awesome too, and I'll never forget his lecture to the students on how women need to be educated and be able to support themselves. This is a very male dominated society, and he told these women and men how women need to be strong, and that's attractive, and they are worth it. It was so powerful.

I was so grateful to have met some students, but mostly to get to know and admire this man:

Lionel. The powerhouse of Benin. I'm so grateful the college is in his very capable hands. He's also the 1st councillor of the Stake presidency, and his recruiting of missionaries was like thunder to these people. I actually saw people's lives being changed because of this man. Not exaggerating

But Africa was a bit of a hiccup in my homeschool. My boys loved staying at aunties and friends, so they weren't effected, but I felt behind when I came home, and then I had to prepare for a seminar I gave a few days later:

I wanted to share everything I learned this summer (and earlier) with the community. I felt at ease because dyslexia is something I'm so educated on and passionate about. I regret a couple things, but I think it went well, and some public school teachers even came!

One said they would love me to give this seminar to all the teachers when I move back to Cardston.

We'll see. I hope I can make a positive difference.

When I was working on my presentation, my boys were having a riot with their things from Scholastic. Because of the crazy changes in funding, I felt like I had to spend it on frivolities from Scholastic because it's so easy to pay for through the school, instead of things I feel like actually go with my homeschool (like my yearly printing of this blog into a book.)

But my boys loved it and they got cool things like "pinball science" minecraft papercraft, and rock collections.

Well, when I actually did school this week we learned about the invention of the camera and we played with UV paper. UV paper is just too cool, but mine is old, and didn't work as good as it could have.

We also learned all about Queen Victoria, the Sovereign of the Industrial Revolution. I had them watch "Young Victoria"---mostly because it's one of my favourite movies EVER!

It was quite shocking-something they don't mention in the movie-how she did not like her babies! Her journals were full of how she found them awkward and didn't really care for them! It sounded like she got over that, and really-she didn't have much reference to work with because her own upbringing was so wretched.

We did our last science class in Cardston. It was epic. It was a last minute Halloween Party. We studied the heart, and took our pulse, studied our veins, and saw if we could move liquid as effectively/fast as a heart could (we couldn't) and then we DISSECTED TWO HEARTS!!!

One boy said "My mom would throw up if she were doing this." I personally was not squeamish at all, and was so excited by it, but I can imagine that some might not feel that way, after all, just look:

That's a cow artery.

We got a deer heart, but some of the top had been cut off (come on butcher! Don't you know this is SCIENCE?-jk)

But it was the cow heart that stole my class's heart--hehehehe, yah---

Look how HUGE it was!:

I think this is my favourite homeschool photo of myself. I debating about putting it as my Facebook profile photo hahaha.

But I found out I told my kids a fib. I said a whale's arteries were big enough to swim in. They went home and researched it, and proved me wrong....oops.

And now for English and Math...I have no photos, but we are sluggishly moving along. I am more determined to have more and more writing in my children's lives. I have some stories they wrote on my computer's backup drive---I am without a personal computer right now since mine was given to someone in Africa.

I figure they should be writing while I teach William. Right?

Anyway, Daniel has been officially introduced to multiplication. Check out his first multiplication worksheet:

See 9x6 and 7x3? He doesn't do this quickly, of course, but he UNDERSTANDS it, and that is the most important thing, and it amazes me that, if they have a good foundation, how quickly they can succeed.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Put put Boats and Bones

Did I mention that my husband's gone? He is. Oh he definitely is. He's in Africa. He's been there for a week and a half. I will meet him there next week, but then I will fly back without him and he will go to China before he gets back home.

That's ALL THE WAY AROUND THE WORLD people. In one trip he will circumnavigate the globe. Watch out Jules Verne.

And in the meantime we are messier and not as healthy without him.

One of the main reasons we got messy this week was because of making PUT PUT BOATS! We made them last time we did modern history, and this time we made them faster and better because we knew what we were doing.

Maxwell was in heaven. I'm very blessed that my oldest is so enthusiastic for everything. It's like having a little cheerleader to get me doing things.

We made them as our intro to the industrial revolution....which was made possible by steam engines! However, we did very little history this week. I didn't get to the Morse Code like I wanted.

For science we studied bones. That's when my favourite moment of science EVER happened. I brought out my little skeleton man and said "Bones protect our organs. Look at his head. What is the most important thing to be protected?" And quiet Hunter Blackmore shouts out:


Bwahahahahah! I just laughed and laughed. That was awesome.

We talked about the structure of bones, bone's joints, their strength, and what happens if you break them. We made a spine as one of our activities, and I let them take it home. It was a balloon head with a string as the spinal cord and thread spools as vertebrae and buttons as disks.

We also looked at xrays....I think my mom bought this kit for me...

By the way, even though I'm going to the coast for awhile, I decided to make a CARDSTON science club blog to make it easier for my friends to report to Westwind what their kids learned with me. Behold:

It's super easy.....I just copy and paste what I did here onto that blog. Now they don't have to sift through all my ramblings. But YOU still have to read it all John Creed!

This week I took the boys on dates to do crafts at a store where you make china and ceramic things.  I have my dad for Christmas, and I wanted to go to this store before we leave for the coast.

Isn't Abraham so ccccuuuuttttteee!

In other news, Maxwell got a Marriage certificate of our ancestors in the mail!  I'm so happy for him. In the family history world, Marriage certificates are like gold. There's so much information on them! He is on his way to having quite a few names for the temple.

He opened it up and said "Look! I can read 'December' in their cursive! It's not even hard once you start learning!" Hooray for us!

And yes, we have continued with cursive, and Maxwell's picking it up easily and with eagerness.

Maxwell practiced note taking this week because of conference and Auntie Bear's youth discussion night. Thank you Auntie Bear! (Even though I know she never reads this.)

Now, I plan on reporting on english and math, BUT I don't like so many photos of sheets of paper. You can't even see them properly when I print this blog into my yearbooks. So we'll see what happens. This week I still photographed sheets of paper, like this one of Maxwell's:

This is Barton at it's finest. Maxwell learned the nuances of when to spell "tion" vs "sion." He didn't have to memorise every single word that ended with the sound "shun." He memorized a few rules (whach are easier for him to memorize than letters) and he KNEW the first time he was asked which it was. Notice "inflate" becomes "inflation" but "submit" becomes "submission" HE DID IT!

Now, would he be able to do this when composing his OWN thoughts in the midst of lots of words....well sometimes, and that's pretty good for a kid with his dyslexic brain.

Speaking of his dyslexic brain, take a look at this!:

Maxwell ALL BY HIMSELF came up with this concept. He put this on his wall. He designed it and did it all in photoshop himself, but he did need my help with research. I was happy about that because I am still a little leary of my boys just poking around the internet, and I KNOW (haha) I can guide them safely  through, so we were watching this youtube video of famous dyslexics, and it jumps to a photo of Jennifer Aniston NAKED! We have pretty good filters, but not for everything apparently!

Thankfully I had taught all my boys using this awesome book:

And it was an excellent time to example what you do, and a good time to talk about everything again. Honestly....the internet....SHEESH!!!

But we also found inspiring stuff. Jack Horner is one of Maxwell's favourite people now. Just check out his ted talk:

HE THINKS LIKE A DYSLEXIC! His interconnected thinking, his thinking outside the box, his understanding of complex systems. I LOVE IT! Here are dyslexic strengths on display.


I had recently read a book about Tesla, and I diagnosed him as a dyslexic based on his strengths (the book didn't mention any weaknesses he may have had) and then I find him in every dyslexic scientist list out there. OH YAH! Dyslexia is a super power baby! (but it's just really hard on their english teacher!)

Speaking of hard english, here's Hyrum's example:

Is this all ADHD? Was he bored or was it too hard? Well, this is honest. This doesn't usually happen, but I must say, I'm excited for the Seeing Stars Program. Soon he'll get better instruction.

Daniel started on  contractions. I have a feeling this might take awhile. We just touched on it this week, next week will only be half a week and then we will need to review when I get back.

As for Math:

Maxwell's is super EASY! He's just now reviewing area. I really like it, because on a hard day, I know Maxwell will be easy. BUT I'm not too worried about it's easiness.  I've looked ahead, and he will learn things as complex as TANGENTS this year! And he is always getting drafting practice in each day:

Hyrum is doing great with math. Check out how he figured out every possible way to give change of $0.25:

Daniel is getting prepped to enter the world of multiplication! We played a memory game where he had to get all the multiples of 3 in order, while I had to get all the multiples of 2 in order. He won. (He usually does.)