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.

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