Monday, March 21, 2016

Learning About Recycling!

Since joining our county 4-H club and getting involved in a club recycling project, Big Brother has developed an interest in recycling.

Since he has completed his ABeka science course for the year, we are spending that extra time this week to learn more about recycling!

His next Cloverbuds meeting is coming up next week, and he has been very busy since his last meeting collecting plastic lids for recycling into a park bench for our county's 4-H butterfly garden. He has also had several of our friends and family members involved in collecting lids for this project.

So far just at our house, we have almost filled up a recycled gallon milk jug with small plastic lids!

Big Brother is very interested now in finding more ways for our family to reduce waste and re-use or recycle more things. We are talking about ways we can be better stewards of the beautiful creation God has made for us.

We found some good books about recycling and are spending time this week reading them. I wanted to share them here in case others may be looking for resources on this topic!

Books Big Brother is reading about recycling:

Why Should I Recycle?


How Recycling Works

The Three R's: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle


Trash and Recycling

He is eager to find out more about recycling, and I am excited to find out what new recycling projects he comes up with this week!

Once again, homeschooling is offering us the opportunity to tailor Big Brother's education to suit his unique interests!!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Choice Stories for Children

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Today I want to quickly share with you a wonderful book that we are thouroughly enjoying during our daily read aloud time! If you are looking for helpful resources for instilling character qualities in your children, then I highly recommend Choice Stories for Children.

The stories in this book were written in the late 1800's. The writing style is beautiful and the language is rich. Children of today will definitely benefit from hearing this "old fashioned" book read to them!

The stories are short; most of them are just a couple pages long. Big Brother looks forward to me reading one story to him from this book each morning. These would also make great bedtime stories!

These stories promote good Christian character qualities such as honesty, contentment, initiative, generosity, obedience, etc. They are stories about children who face real life situations and decisions.

This book of stories is a great starting point for having very meaningful discussions with your children about character issues and matters of the heart. Sometimes the characters in the stories make poor decisions and must face consequences for their actions. We also get to see the good things that come with making wise choices. Applying the messages in the stories to your child's own life experiences will make this story book a valuable parenting tool.

The stories and morals that are taught are good for any age, including grown ups! This book makes a delightful family read aloud, but it would probably be most enjoyed by children between the ages of 5 and 12.

Choice Stories for Children is a book we will look forward to reading over and over again!

Friday, March 11, 2016

What's Up in Our Homeschool This Week?

Today is Friday, and school is officially out for the week! We have had a pretty layed back week in our homeschool.

The weather has been so nice, and we have enjoyed some fun times at the local park.

Being able to get outside (without freezing!) and getting more active movement in our days really helps all of our moods a lot. Days seem to go so much smoother that way!

Big Brother and I finished studying the book of Job together, and now we are reading through the Gospel of Luke each day. We are enjoying just going through a chapter aloud together day and discussing what we are reading.

Our homeschool co-op is learning Ephesians 6:10-18, the Armor of God verses, together right now. This will be our last Scripture memory passage for this school year. I have been so pleased with all the verses we have all committed to memory this year, even 22 month old Little Brother who also actively participates in our co-op right alongside the "big kids."

We have been spending a good amount of time each day reviewing Scripture memory. Having hand motions for the verses makes it so much fun!

Big Brother has been especially interested in his English lessons this week. He has been learning about homophones, synonyms, and antonyms as well as practicing using both the dictionary and the thesaurus.

He has completed his regular science course for this school year, so right now we are using that time to let him enjoy working on LEGO projects.

We are reading aloud a children's version of The Three Musketeers. While the story is exciting and Big Brother loves all the sword fights, I have not been so thrilled with some of the themes involving adultery. But it has been a springboard for some learning and discussion. Big Brother commented on the chapters we read together earlier today that the characters could have avoided a whole lot of trouble if the Queen of France just had not been cheating on her husband with the Duke of Buckingham in the first place! ;-)

On a lighter note, Little Brother is once again enjoying his weekly Kindermusik classes! He loves to sing, and all the activities, instruments, books, and props are just perfect for his developmental level. The theme for his "Sing & Play" classes this month is Food. So much fun!!

Other than all of this our homeschool this week has involved writing a short report on Louisa May Alcott, making A's on history and spelling tests, learning about the Titanic and other shipwrecks, helping out with chores, learning about the Navy Seals, practicing the 8 times tables, reading about castles, going horseback riding, learning Roman numerals from 1 to 20, and setting new personal records in speed cup stacking!

What's been up in your world this week?

Friday, March 4, 2016

Big Brother's 4-H Demonstration!

In my last post, I mentioned that Big Brother was preparing to participate in our county's 4-H Demonstration Contest. As a Cloverbud (a 4-H member under the age of 9), he would not be eligible to advance to the Area or State level competitions. But he was encouraged by our county 4-H agent to give it a try at the county level for fun and practice.

Big Brother had chosen to demonstrate how to do speed cup stacking. Cup stacking is something he loves and knows how to do well. So it made a great choice for his first demonstration.

So he worked hard all last week. He made posters, practiced his introduction, the body of his demonstration, and his conclusion. He practiced taking and answering questions properly. He watched videos on YouTube of other 4-H demonstrations. He watched cup stacking videos. For a little guy who will not be 8 for another month, he really worked!

And it paid off!

The night of the competition, we arrived early to register. We were pleased to find out there were other Cloverbuds participating. I had feared that he would be the only one, and that it might be discouraging to him if all he saw were older and more advanced students giving demonstrations. But this was not the case, and we were glad. One boy was only 6!

When it was time to start, Cloverbuds were divided from the older 4-H members and we went to a separate meeting room. Big Brother was relieved to see that one of the judges was his Cloverbud club leader, and the other gentleman who judged was extremely nice.

The judges told us that they would watch each demonstration and make helpful notes on how each student did. Awards would be given out once all the demonstrations had been judged.

Big Brother was second, so he was able to watch a fellow Cloverbud do his demonstration first. I think that helped calm his nerves a bit!

I had told Big Brother that winning or losing a contest was not the point. I did not care if he received an award from 4-H or not. All I asked and expected of him was that he work hard to prepare and just get up there and try his best. Daddy and I let him I know we were already proud of him, and that we planned to reward him after the contest was over.

My parents were also able to come watch, and my dad was able to video the whole thing for us. Having his grandparents there in the audience also made Big Brother feel more supported and confident.

Finally his big moment in the spotlight arrived! I helped him quickly set up his posters...and I sat beack down...leaving him up there alone to conduct his demonstration.


I knew he had done well at home for me, and I knew he was well prepared. I knew I had done everything in my power to make sure he was ready for this...

But now my hands were off, and he was completely on his own.

For the first time ever, he was going to be judged (or graded) on something by someone other than just Mom.

I should not have worried at all...

Big Brother shocked everyone in that room! He was confident, he was comfortable, and he was cool.

He nailed his entire demonstration. He was professional, he used his notes well but still managed to make plenty of eye contact. His expression was excellent. He expertly used his posters and cup stacking materials to really get the judges and the rest of the audience interested in the sport ofcup stacking.

At the end of his demonstration when he asked for questions, the judges wanted to see him do a fast Cycle (the most challenging cup stacking pattern)! Even under pressure, Big Brother did great, and the judges were obviously very impressed.

When Big Brother was finished, we watched a few more demonstrations. While the others did fine, none of them had the enthusiasm nor had prepared quite as well as Big Brother.

I honestly felt a kinda sorry for some of them because Big Brother had done so well.

When all the demonstrations in both rooms were finished, light snacks were served as the judges met with the county agent and awards were prepared.

Cloverbud awards were given out first.

Big Brother was delighted to be declared Cloverbud CHAMPION for the General division and was awarded 2 beautiful ribbons!

He also received the judges forms with their encouraging comments. Words like "Awesome!" and "Great job!" really made Big Brother's day!!!

Actually the judges had wanted to find some way to send him on to represent our county at the Area competition, but the agent explained that he was too young to be eligible for that this year. But what an honor!

After much congratulating, Big Brother was ready for his reward from Mom and Dad! So following the competition, we took him out to McDonalds for a chocolate milkshake and then to Wal-Mart to pick out a new toy.

His choice?

A new LEGO set of course!

Participating in this community activity not only won our little homeschooler some well-earned recognition, but through the whole process of preparing and conducting his demonstration, Big Brother has practiced numerous real life skills that can serve him well as he grows into adulthood later on.

He stretched himself out of his comfort zone just a bit and gained all kinds of knowledge, skill and confidence along the way!

It was amazing for me as homeschool Mom to just let go and watch him shine!