January has not come or gone gently. But, it’s been a good busy. I’ve found myself in the very bizarre position of helping to facilitate a high school Sabbath School class. It’s odd because leadership/speaking positions are very uncomfortable for me and my kids are so young still that I don’t have confidence in connecting with older youth. But, after a lot of thought and discussion with other moms, I felt like this was a gap in our church ministry that needed to be filled. Our youth pastor just happened to have a program in mind that he wanted to start and was hoping to find some helpers. So, it seems God put this together. It’s been a nice class, largely focused on Spiritual Gifts discovery and development.

I’m excited about all the work our youth pastor has been doing around here – bringing in speakers for a youth rally, hosting a concert, building a Sabbath School program and more. Plus, our gym recently had a technology upgrade and new, very comfortable, padded chairs, so it looks and sounds fantastic. Our mission and vision team are chugging along and making good progress. I have a good feeling about our spiritual growth here.

Home school has been going well. Ian and Isaac have made really great progress with reading, and we’ve been getting a lot more writing activities in. Here, we practiced writing lower-case letters in shaving cream on the table:

Later on, the boys drew silly pictures and I had them make a short poem to go along with it:

Ian has a radio soldering kit he’s in the middle of. It’s hard work and this will be good practice on follow-through.

The kids did another project, incorporating an object into a drawing. Here is Ian’s:

Elijah is the one most interested in helping me cook these days. Ian still prefers to invent his own recipes, which tend to involve bread and sugar. Here is Elijah learning to cook Eggs on a Cloud:

On another day, I had the boys invent a new planet, and then write a fact sheet about it:

Here, we read a story about Elijah and the boys illustrated it:

Ian had the opportunity for his birthday to go to MODA and learn about the White House, build one in Minecraft, and then have it 3D printed.

On Homeschool Fridays, Ian is still tinkering with Lego Mindstorms. He built one of their stock robots, but has also explored his own ideas, like trying to make a guy that waves, or making a “piston” like this:

We also had a robot and he wanted to make it “look left and right” and then go straight. So, that led us down a very slippery slope into some complicated ideas about circles, degrees and wheel rotation to make the robot turn exactly as he wanted it to. We made it very hands on and did a lot of measuring and a little bit of “just trust me on this” math, but in the end his robot did what he wanted it to, and maybe next time he encounters the idea, there will be a hint of familiarity about it. Here you can see that we used the width of the robot as the radius of a circle. We drew a circle that represented the path of the outer wheel and figured out the perimeter of the circle and compared that to the distance a wheel travels in one revolution. Then we figured out how many times the wheel needs to turn to make one complete circle.

We’ve done an assortment of other projects and experiments too. We experimented with the capillary action of celery with colored water. We’ve explored the woods. We read a lot. The boys constantly play around with math problems. Isaac is really into figuring out fourths of numbers right now, and also talking about negative numbers. We have a great stock of learning games to play – both board games and computer games. I’m pretty happy with how school is going so far. What I really need to do is get on with making this year’s year book so it’s not a huge job like last time! And, I’m still behind on getting their drawings made into a book so I can thin out our collection a bit!

Well, it’s Friday, and the middle of a long youth rally weekend. I need to get the boys home and get ready to turn around and come back, since we’re helping with the music – fun! Hoo, boy, do I have some drum fever! One day, I will be a drumming madness old lady. But for now, it’s a hot bassist, the cajon and me.

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