Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's Been a While!

Goodness, but it's been a while.

We've been fine here, just busy.

Getting Emily back to Auburn.

Settling in to our school routine.

A visit from a grandma.

Another little history road trip.

A short visit from a big brother.
Piano, ballet, co-op, choir, Frontier Girls, Cub Scouts, speech therapy 2x/ week x2.....

A daddy that's been traveling more.


I've got much to catch up on, but today I'm going to share a little about our Thursdays w/ homeschool.

This year, Grace is involved in a co-op. And let me tell you, it's been a HUGE blessing.  And an answer to prayer.  One thing that has been lacking for Grace within our family has been activities and friends of her own. The fact is, when you've got 4 children between 3-7 years old, and only one that's of a very different age, most of our days and activities tend to be geared toward the younger majority group.  We've been looking for ways to change this and to give Grace some things of her own, and her co-op is really filling this gap.

Several ladies from our church were planning a co-op for their middle school children.  The kind where each mom would teach one of the classes.  A friend of mine from church mentioned the co-op to me one Sunday.  I thought it sounded GREAT, and perfect for Grace, but I commented that I just couldn't spend a day out of our house, teach a class, and have my 4 younger children in tow.  (I am certain that some of you reading this would have no problem with that, but for ME, it just was not going to happen.)  I told my friend it sounded like an answer to our prayers for Grace, but that it just probably wasn't going to work for our FAMILY.  My friend said, "Let me talk with the other moms, and I'll get back with you....."  I must say, I was so excited and quite hopeful.

Well, the ladies all agreed to have Grace participate WITHOUT me having to participate. Truly an answer to prayer.  And truly the body of Christ willing to step in and help fulfill a need we had.

So Grace has been attending co-op now for 3 Thursdays.  And she LOVES it! The boys and girls in the group are wonderful!  Encouraging and God loving.  Just the nicest MIDDLE SCHOOL kids.  

I meet my friend at 8:15 in the morning, and she takes Grace the 40 or so minute drive to the home where the co-op meets (a beautiful home on land, out in the country) and then brings Grace back to our house about 3:30 in the afternoon.  

And what makes this even MORE perfect, is that my friend is currently adopting a darling girl from the Philippines who is a year younger than Grace.  Her new daughter, EG, has been in the US for the same amount of time as Grace (3 years) and she is a year younger than Grace. (12 years old)  EG is being adopted out of a disruption, and she is ABSOLUTELY THRIVING in my friend's family.  She and Grace have quickly become "besties" and it is a delight for me to see Grace just blossoming through this friendship.  EG is bright, articulate and LOVES the Lord.  Although she is younger than Grace, she's an EXCELLENT role model for her. And I am SO, SO thankful that the Lord has put these two girls together. The girls feel such a connection and feel so comfortable with each other; I know it's due to having very similar backgrounds. 

Is there a downside to this co-op, you may be wondering?  Well yes, there actually is.  Grace cannot come even close to keeping up with the level of work of the co-op.  It's become very apparent over the last few months, that we are dealing with quite a bit more than what we thought was just a delay in learning English.  Lot's more is going on.  All along, I've been thinking, "once she really learns English...." but the fact is, she's been here 3+ years, the English is not really improving, and learning is a struggle.

Thankfully, the ladies in the co-op have been so gracious.  I told them that MY goals for Grace in the co-op were probably very different than the goals they had for their children.  They "got" what I was saying, and we're all working under the premise that "she gets what she gets."  And THAT took a TON of pressure off both Grace and myself.

So with Grace, happily at her co-op each Thursday, I've designated Thursdays as our "hands on learning" day with our four four littlest learners.  And it's been SUCH fun!

Today, after dropping Grace off w/ my friend for her day of learning and fun, we headed to our nearby hardware store in search of worms!  Well, don't you head to your local hardware store when you need worms????

This place is a historic TREASURE!  How anyone can shop at a big box store, when THIS place is nearby.... And you'll just have to indulge me these photos, because well,  I just ADORE historic buildings!

Sorry for the blurry picture, but it's the only one I took with the kids outside.

Just look at this place!  When you visit in the summer, you can enjoy a cold bottled soda, and when you visit in the winter, you can enjoy the warmth from the old heat stove.  Once when I was in, there was a mama cat and her kittens lounging by the stove.  Really. It was like a movie.

       As home vegetable gardens have become more popular these last several years, Renfrow's has expanded their gardening section, and it's now a large part of the store. 

    Mission accomplished!  We left with plastic tub of "about 35 worms." 

"Will that enough?" 

"Ummm, more than enough, I do believe."

As we were driving through town, we noticed this in the town park.

 So of course we stopped to remember.

And then we went home to learn about worms.

For science this year with the 3, we are using Simply Charlotte Mason's "Outdoor Secrets."  And we are loving it.  The guide that goes along with it leads us through lessons that include lots of living books and nature journaling.

 Charlie is holding the teacher guide, which I highly recommend.  Intended age range for this science "curriculum" is K-2nd grade, and I've found it just perfect for my 2 first graders and 2nd grader.

The girls are holding the 2 books about earthworms that we read this morning.

 Here are the kids studying their worms and working on their nature journals.  And Ellie in the middle of it all, just being silly. Because that's how she is!

 If you look closely at the end of the pencil in Kate's hand, you can see Kate "holding" a worm.  Yep, that's as close as she'd get to holding a worm.

 AnnaClaire was our bravest with the worms and at one point, she was holding all of them at once!

  You can see that Charlie is a bit timid with the worm in his hands, but he did "man up" and  hold one!

And Ellie?  No thank you.  Worms are just not her cup of tea!

And here are the 3 with their nature notebooks!

After our morning with the worms, we loaded up the van and met daddy for lunch (after washing hands, of course) as he was on his way home from the airport.

And that was our fun and wormy Thursday! 


Amy Jo said...

Oh my goodness! Yay for Pam blogging again!!! Loved your post and the pics. Thank you! Just what my sad heart needed. :-) Love you, Friend!

JEN said...

GOd Bless You all :)

Liesl said...

LOVED to hear from you - was wondering where you were!!! And as for the worms, I'm right there with Ellie and Kate - UGH. Not my cup of tea either. And so happy for Miss Grace to find a good friend and a good group to grow with! His provision in His timing. Love it!

Wolfes Home said...

Beautiful answer to prayer! Will send a note soon, but we're heading your way and I sure hope to be in touch and possibly meet up for a short bit.

Wolfes Home said...

P.S. Can't wait to share with you an update with things here with E.

likeschocolate said...

While I am not a big fan of disruptions, it is clear that this little girl was meant to come to the United States and even have to go through some challenges to find the perfect fit. I am glad she is doing so well in her new family.

Joy said...

Praise God for this blessing for Grace! When we adopted our daughters we did not get ANY English as Second Lang. services at school since there was no such thing but my daughter's best friend did in Atlanta and the experts there told her parents that it takes 7 years of school for an ESOL student to truly understand school lang. and to perform on grade level. I really did not believe this but sure enough both of my girls began to excell in their 7th year of school. Hang in there. Praying time will tell for Grace as well.

Judi said...

Our Haleigh has been home three years and English has been a challenge for her as well. She wasn't speaking Chinese, either, when she came home at 4 1/2, which was not diagnosed until we got her home. They thought she was just a "quiet girl". Not knowing the language affects so many other areas of development and academics.

jeanette said...

LOVE the co-op for Grace!! What a provision from the Lord. and I'm SO with Kate -on the end of my pencil is as close to "holding" a worm as I'd get. :)