Sunday, November 6, 2016

Moving the Dickens out of us

We're here! We're in Victoria (well, technically we are in Sidney, but when I say that, everyone wonders if I've gone to Australia.)

We've moved into a vacation rental that has the ocean as our back yard. Check out this photo I took from my WINDOW!

It is so amazing to look out our windows and see seals and Canadian Geese and the marina. However, everyone who comes over says "Wow, this is an awesome house" when they are looking OUT of out windows, not as they look IN the house.

I can guess that this is the story of this house: Grandma died, they cleaned it, and put it up as a vacation rental. Leaving ALL of Grandma's knick knacks and china, and doilies and scrapbooks right where Grandma left them.

My sister Danette (THANK YOU!!) came over to help us move in, and we loaded about ten bins full of Grandma's treasures up to the attic. (I am not being cluttered and risking my children breaking things for four months!)

The best thing about moving is starting life out fresh and new. Leaving behind bad habits and beginning good habits.

The major thing we've decided to do, is to break the day into TWO work periods. We work/school in the morning until about 12. Then we adventure until about 2-3. And then we work/school until evening.

We've gotten family passes to the recreation centre near us because everyone (but me) LOVES swimming. It's one thing we do in our "adventure" time. (Sometimes I stay behind with the littles.)

Another thing that Dustin has committed to doing is to learn French. He's hired a tutor to come three times a week, and he's on rossetta stone and memrize and being very studious. I hate learning languages, but after being in Africa, I can see why he promised the students there that he would learn it, and I will's very intimidating to me!

Also, we wake up an hour earlier. Dustin's work starts an hour earlier because of the time zone change, and I want more time in my life, so we all wake up (thank goodness for the time change today to make it easier!)

We are doing things now that I never felt we had time for. Namely......MEDITATION!

I am so proud of myself! I have been meaning to have this part of our routine FOREVER and now we do! This book makes it super simple:

Although, I have to admit this is how it's been going:

Feel the air you breath fill your body


let it leave you as you relax...


as you relax every muscle


you can feel the calmness envelope you


um, yah we have a long way to go. But they're pretty cute:

I've also gotten serious about teaching William. He's so cute, and his teaching is just reading and fun. I haven't started handwriting yet because I'm waiting for some supplies to come.

And while I'm teaching William, my boys are WRITING. I always thought "oh heavens, they are having such a hard time reading, writing can wait" and they only did the writing that was in their reading and spelling programs. But really, having them do free lance writing helps their reading! I let them do inventive spelling and they can write about whatever they want, and it's already been a good experience.

Surprisingly enough, the one who's gotten into writing the most has been Hyrum! He is writing long after I'm done teaching William and he labels his writing with "Chapters."

However, his writing has TONS of inventive spelling so far.

Maxwell is not writing as much, but his spelling is good, although his writing certainly doesn't show his intelligence level.

Here you can see him practicing his signature in cursive. He gets up even earlier then us (he's always been a morning person) and practices cursive in his cursive book. He was SO proud when he had to actually use his signature on a document. We are getting him a passport, and he LOVES the thought of his signature on it.

So overall, this move has been a good thing, but it was stressful getting it all together. I'm sad to not be in Cardston for all the classes. We hardly got any art lessons in this year. But they loved the ones they did do.

That's a hawk.

However, there are lessons here too. Grandma McKay is giving Canadian history classes once a week. These are just for older kids, and she is including Maxwell, and testing out Hyrum. They enjoyed their first week where there was a rendezvous.

I haven't started my science class yet, and my Sala nieces were SCANDALIZED by my heart picture from the other week. Hahahha well, they might not like my class after all.

And as far as history goes, it''s been all about Charles Dickens (why I titled this post that way,) child labor, Alexander Graham Bell, and Teddy Roosevelt.

We had learned about Charles Dickens before we left mostly. We read all these books:

I love these books. I plan on reading the unabridged version of Christmas Carrol with them when it's closer to Christmas.  The treehouse book tells about the Christmas Carrol, and Hyrum got all excited that insisted that there was a "Teen Titans Go" episode about it that we HAD to watch....uh, yah, it was VERY loosely connected.

We've been talking about child labour through learning about Dickens, and then we focused on the Newsies strike. There's a cute book "Kid Blink Beats the World" that goes over the true story and then we watched....

Oh man, I still love this movie!

The Newsies movie had Teddy Roosevelt in it, so it was an easy segway into learning about him. Holy cammoly, a lot of the stuff we read about sounded like fiction until we read it in more then one book. What a fascinating guy! His animals in the white house! My kids love the Teddy Bear story.

And we studied Alexander Graham Bell. While we read about him, I had my kids do the craft I had meant them to do forever ago. Decoupage with Victorian paintings.

Alexander Graham Bell fills me with mixed emotions. He believed in eugenics, which I find deplorable, but what I don't know how to wrap my mind around is his work with the deaf.

I have three friends with deaf kids, and they all think he is the devil. Deaf communities often think poorly about lip reading, voice speaking and cochlear implants. In fact, they are usually discouraged. They have their own culture within their own communities and rejoice when someone else is deaf.

Bell (whose mom went deaf and who married a deaf girl) whole point was to get deaf people into "normal" society. He discouraged sign language, taught voice speaking and lip reading, and would tie deaf people's hands behind their backs to force them to use their voice.

I have no idea what to think about all that, and I guess that's where I'll leave it: unresolved.

But I did refuse to read the last paragraph in the book I was reading to my kids about how the deaf community is grateful to him, because they (most of them) aren't.

ANYWAY moving on.....


Daniel is practicing long addition:

And Hyrum is learning how to do long multiplication.

I was so proud of him. I asked him in a story problem to multiply 7 by 12, and he did it his own way correctly!

See how he realized he needed to find the ones and the tens and add them? Genius.

Here in this worksheet you can see how they are having him add the same number a lot to get him ready for long multiplication:

Maxwell's math is still fairly easy. Here he was learning to label polygons by their vertices.

And last but not least, it was HALLOWEEN! I love this holiday! We carved pumpkins. Daniel made an R2D2 (with a little bit....uh a lot....of help from mom) and Maxwell's is the death star.

And of course MAXWELL made the R2D2 costume for Daniel which won a costume contest back in Cardston!

And there was the trunk or treat and Sidney bonfire and fireworks:

1 comment:

  1. Oh man I miss the island so much- you are so lucky to be in Sidney! That R2D2 costume is pretty awesome!