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Quick Update

Not that much going on in our lives right now. We have started back to school gradually as most of the kids have now left Treasure Lake. Changed our curriculum around completely this year due to the kids spending time with me up at the Mill when Richard is working. I have always loved the Critical Thinking Company products and we have used several over the years but this year we are using a LOT more. We have even switched to their Math curriculum as it is much more varied and also teaches practical, day to day skills. Some books get too bogged down in explanations and the older two just go blank and space out so a waste of paper. Mathematical Reasoning is colorful and attention getting. We’ll see how everyone does. I have never shied away from changing something that doesn’t work.

Richard and I have always encouraged our kids to think critically. No, that does not mean we have taught them to be critical! Rather, we want them to ask questions, examine the evidence put before them and come to a logical conclusion. Don’t just take what someone says as truth, prove it for yourself. Of course there needs to be balance. We don’t expect them to doubt everything they hear and call folks liars! I have started Daniel on Basics of Critical Thinking. I think as we go through this together it will really help him mature as he tends to be on the gullible side and also not always understand the first time around what folks are saying to him.

For the last couple of years I have had the kids all doing different history. That worked great when I was home here everyday. It will not work now! SO, determined to use the library more I invested in Critical Thinking’s World History Detective. This is one THICK book! Designed for Grades 6-12 I know for a fact that we will not get through this in a year nor did I ever have any intention of doing so. My aim is to use this as a guide and use the resources at the library to learn more. The three main categories in this book are:

  • Ancient Civilizations
  • Medieval Civilizations
  • Early American Civilizations

For example, the first study is on the Fertile Crescent and the Sumerians. World History Detective provides some basic information but I want to delve deeper. I am going to learn alongside the children as my history knowledge is not that good. (I had the most AWFUL, BORING history teacher at school. Know where I am coming from? I spent more time outside the classroom than in or so it seems. I can still see her now and also my time spent outside on the benches!) I want our history to be fun!

Caleb asked about whales the other day so I decided to find a Unit Study on Whales which we started yesterday. Very interactive, videos to watch, books to read, word searches to do etc. Schooling here doesn’t always get done at a set time. Last night whilst letting our dinner go down I read an EXCELLENT book, Blue Whales by Patricia Hutchison (a library find). Richard and I learned stuff we never knew. Yes, of course we knew that blue whales are the largest creatures on earth but did you know that a small child could crawl into its nostril? How about that the fact that its tongue weighs as much as an elephant? The author, describing the blue whale in such a fashion, truly allowed Caleb to visualize how BIG this creature is. Of course it is more than TWICE the length of our fifth wheel so Caleb immediately said that it would not fit in the Treasure Lake pond.

Hannah LOVES to learn new words. Two of our recent ones are ‘havering’ and ‘petrichor’, both of which came out of books we were reading aloud. Yes, I read aloud a LOT to these kids. Unless we are in a rush, I read to them after every mealtime. This not only allows the slower eaters to finish their meal but also allows us all to digest our food and relax a little. I hate rushing anywhere! SO with that in mind, and admittedly a little fed up with grammar, I decided to go with Vocabulary Virtuoso this year. These books provide the kids a set of new words each week with lots of lessons using the words in different ways. We’ll see how it works….

Several other bits getting added in also. When we were at Voice of the Martyrs, they were giving away The Torchlighters Ultimate Activity Books – Heroes of the Faith. I haven’t had a chance to look at them in detail yet but will get there. That will be our Bible curriculum to start the year.

Been a rainy week here and Hovis loves the rain. Yesterday we grabbed the umbrellas and took her out. She had a blast and whilst walking we saw the rabbit pictured above. It just watched us and never ran away. On our way back it was still there. Yesterday, although a little humid, was SO nice and cool. Today, it felt like walking into a sauna! Yuk!

Blessings to you as summer begins to wind down and we approach a new season,

Liz

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