Saturday, January 31, 2009

Girl with a Watering Can

This morning the kids painted our picture of the week, A Girl with a Watering Can by Renoir. For some time, I've been wanting to do art alongside the kids, but I always feel I should be doing something else - cleaning, cooking, etc. Well, today I decided the house could wait, and I painted with the kids for about an hour. The little ones even went and played nicely together. I didn't finish, but I did enjoy it.

Miah's is on the left, Larkin's on the right.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things. Ph. 4:8

All the Rage!

Here's what the kids are excited about lately.

The little ones love it when Miah drags them around on a mat.

Making juice.

And kefir. Larkin loves it so much that's what he wanted to buy with his birthday money.

Aaaaaahhhh! Good stuff!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Babes at Work

Well, I guess they're not exactly babies anymore. . . but they're MY babies.

Pouring water. I bought all these things (including the pretty tray) at a thrift store for a quarter each, except one of the pitchers, which was 75 cents.

Cleaning up a spill.

Pouring rice. She spilled some of the water on her shirt, so that's why she's bare for this activity.

Amazing how much she really loves doing this, because only a few days earlier she thought this was incredibly boring. Timing is everything!

Zahana's favorite practical life skill - spreading butter.

And perfecting the use of a spoon. Eating is always popular. :)

And Rohan, just learning to use a spoon.

. . . We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. . . You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12


This is my Larkin, age 5. His middle name is Paul, which is a family name - both grandpas and Jeremiah. Larkin is an Irish name meaning rough and fierce. He likes animals in general but crustaceans and mollusks especially. We were driving to the library a few months ago, and he surprised me by asking, "Can we get some books about crustaceans?" I didn't even know he knew that word! He is truly like a sponge, absorbing words, and constantly asking what they mean. One day he asked me for some magazines, out of which to cut some pictures. A little while later he said, "Come look at my science bed!" He had cut out lots of animal pictures and taped them all around his bed. He really is fun to teach, not that I "teach" him in the conventional way. There's no sitting him down for a lesson. He couldn't possibly sit still or pay attention for that, but give him a box of legos and pictures of architecture or read something that's of interest to him, and he can sit still for an hour.
Larkin also loves playing with friends, going to church (he always calls it "school"), and going to Monday Fun math class ("I love math!" he says.) He's also excited that he gets to be a boy scout when he turns 7 ("Only 2 more years, Mom!")
So here he is, my big boy.

He also really likes pattern blocks.

Riding with Grampa.

Um...yes, that is a tie he's wearing.

With Uncle Dallas.

A little treat on his actual birthday, since his party wasn't for a few days.

His artistic skills are developing quite nicely, too.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I want to introduce each of my kids individually, so I'll start with Miah, my first-born, age 6. Her name is Miah Melea, named after Jeremiah and my mom. Miah, taken from Jeremiah, means Yahweh will establish. She likes horses and cooking. She loves drawing. She draws all the time, making sweet little pictures for all the family. When she does her chore chart in the morning, she's supposed to put a little checkmark in the box when she's completed a chore. Well, she probably spends more time drawing elaborate pictures in each little box than actually doing her chores. And if there's a pencil in her hand but not paper, she might just decorate the wall, the door frame, or the laundry basket. Finding tiny pictures drawn here and there is at once exasperating and charming - she's the oldest and the only one who draws on walls. Her hero is her Aunt Jessica, an artist, who always takes time to show her a thing or two when she has a chance. Miah also likes working with clay, thanks to Aunt Jessica.
Miah loves going to friends' houses, church, Monday Fun math class, and American Heritage Girls. This is her first year in AHG (she's a tenderfoot), and she's always asking when the next meeting will be.
Miah's a wonderful helper and big sister. She's my sweetpea.

Making Christmas cookies - a horse, of course.

Receiving her first badges in AHG.

Working on math.

Helping out.

Hiking and climbing.

Drawing in her nature journal.

Let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Independent Day

I try to work with the kids every day we don't have something planned so that when we have family visiting or we want to go on vacation or it's just a beautiful day to go out and play, I don't have to worry about getting enough "school" days in. That means that in the cold months, I'm working with them 6 days a week. I was starting to wonder when I would get to make all the Montessori materials I have in mind. So, I recently made Saturdays an independent work day for the kids.

We've had George Inness's "Delaware Water Gap" on the fridge all week. The kids made their own versions.



Miah, playing the piano

This is TOPS Get A Grip lentil math - algebra for little kids. I really like it, because it's so hands-on.

Tracing the horse puzzle and painting. She's really into horses right now, and art. She draws ALL the time.

Miah also practiced Spanish on the computer, read to me, and did a little Montessori walking on the line with a bell and ball and spoon. I bought the bell last week at a thrift store for a quarter. Larkin seems to be quite unaware that he slams doors and knocks into people, spills things, etc., so I was hoping to give him some activities to help him out in that area. I don't think he's touched the bell, actually, but Miah seems to think it's great fun.

Larkin spent about an hour on his first activity. I gave him a book with some pictures of Chinese architecture and his box of legos. He chose a picture, and was supposed to recreate it with his legos.

He was pretty happy with his Chinese building, although I saw no resemblance to the picture. I think he did become aware of some Chinese architecture even if he just built his own thing.

And here he is with a puzzle.

And what did I do while all this learning was going on (besides taking pictures of them)? I finally finished our movable alphabet. It's in cursive, because Miah has taken an interest in "fancy writing". I didn't color code it, but I kind of wish I had done the vowels on different colored card stock. I just shaded them in with colored pencil. And I made a few picture/word cards to go along with it, but I'll definitely need to make more.

There is a balance between manual and physical activity, the concrete and abstract, nature and books, with early emphasis upon the process (how) of learning rather than the product (what). -R.C. Orem

Fun with Dick and Jane