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Status Update: My 10th Grader, My Father's World, and Next Year

I'm due for an update on how My Father's World is working for us and I'll focus on Jordan, my 10th grader, who is using MFW World History and Literature (WHL) High School Package. 

First, a little about him and his day, then I'll share why I decided not to go with MFW for next year.

Jordan's Life

Jordan turns 16 next month and he has a lot going on.  Monday through Friday, he is up early to work on his school so that he can be done by noon. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday he lifts weights and plays noon ball from noon until 1:30. Then he comes home for a snack, changes and goes back to the Y to work from 2-7pm. He sets up the border patrols for floor hockey, coaches 2 teams, refs, and takes down the border patrols after floor hockey is over. (I love that he works with his dad). On Tuesday and Thursday, he's up before 6 am for high school morning soccer practice from 6:30 - 7:30. Tuesday night he plays soccer with some teammates from 7-9 pm at the Y. On Thursday night, he plays pickleball from 7-9 pm at the Y.  On Friday he has Chess Club and on Sunday night he plays on the adult soccer league at the Y.

When soccer starts next week, his schedule will actually ease up a bit. He will have daily practices from 4-6pm and morning practices will end shortly into the season. He will not play noon ball and will be working less (maybe an hour a day).  Thankfully, he has a lot of flexibility in his job.

Jordan still plays a vital role in our home, helps with Bo, makes cookies (today he made peanut butter ones), and still does his regular chores (with some grace extended to him). Today, he helped pick up stuff and vacuumed the living room and my office. He does his room, the living room, entry, and mud room, takes care of the chickens, maintains the vehicles, and shovels snow.

In a way it is good - he is learning to find his place in the world. . . and really, he only has two years before he graduates and leaves home. I think of all my boys, he will be the most ready to venture out on his own after graduation.  When he was 14, he wanted to go through the diesel mechanics program at our local college, and so far that plan is still looking good!

When my oldest moves out, my youngest will be starting preschool. . . seems almost surreal to me.

My Father's World

In the last few months, I realized that MFW was only a stepping stone to get me back into a boxed curriculum - one in which the work, the planning, the choosing and the scheduling has been done for me (something I need in this season of life). But, we will not be continuing on with MFW next year.

We began our homeschooling journey with Sonlight and we are coming back full circle to Sonlight to end our homeschool journey with Jordan. (That's the plan - I won't order until the new catalog comes out in April).

Jordan works independently in his school and MFW is great, but it does not have enough of what I need right now. I have a weekly meeting with Jordan to talk about what he is learning, check his work, etc., but it is hard to discuss what he is learning because I have not read the books he is reading. With Sonlight, I can pick up the study guides and have a discussion with him on ANY book he reads. The student manual is written to the student, like MFW, but SL high school cores ALSO contain a teacher's manual. Jordan can use the student manual only for parent-guided instruction or he can work independently using both.

MFW 11th and 12th appealed to me - I love BJU and BJU's teacher's manuals offer good discussion - but that is the only book I would be able to discuss. SL appealed to Jordan and my husband voted SL, so SL it is!

Plus, I couldn't make it work for Nathan to finish the history cycle before high school - Sonlight Core H picks up where we left off in Rome to Reformation and essentially covers the same material in one year that MFW takes to cover in two (for example, it uses SOTW volumes 3 and 4 in one year, while MFW uses it over 2 years). He will be 8th grade next year, and the thought of skipping a portion of history did not appeal to me.

There's more, but these are the main reason I'm choosing Sonlight (besides the obvious - that it is a literature based curriculum and has high standards). There is a thread on the Choosing Sonlight forum that discusses the differences between the programs if you want to know more.

I've also decided to jump back in with both feet - with ALL the kids. I'll share more soon.

White Snow Bright Snow

2.3.12 ~ 2.8.12

White snow, bright snow, smooth and deep.  
Light snow, night snow, quiet as sleep.  
Down, down, without a sound;  
Down, down to the frozen ground.  
The story begins with a poem, so we listened for the rhyming words as we read the poem. Now that Malachi is reading, it adds such a fun dimension to our learning - he could find the words in the story.

Then Malachi did a Mitten Blending activity to reinforce blends he learned in All About Reading.

Mitten Blends

And Eliana reviewed the sound of /s/ from The Snowy Day Prinatables Pack

She is also working in the Explode the Code Primers - she recently started Book B. I'm still working through Language Lessons for Little Ones 1 with her (we are on Lesson 140), but I am debating whether or not I will continue the series with her. 

White Snow Bright Snow is fun in that it is repetitive. We watch what happens to the postman, the farmer, the policeman, the wife, the children, and even the animals as they prepare for winter, go through winter and then say hello to spring.

During the first snow, the postman puts on his rubbers, the farmer went to the barn for a snow shovel, the policeman buttons up his coat and the wife made sure she had cough mixture in the medicine cabinet. Since we were sick this week, I pulled out my stash of natural supplements. 

The Elderbery is my #1 pick followed by Super C for colds and flu. In the story, the policeman gets his feet wet, so the wife uses a mustard plaster on the policeman's chest so he wouldn't catch a cold.  He later ends up getting a chill, which I explained meant that he probably had a fever. He had to stay in bed, and I stressed the importance of rest when we are sick.  

Front Paint
"Silently, the frost made pictures of ice ferns on the window panes." 
The frost paint is neat - it uses Epsom Salts dissolved in boiling water to create salt crystals on the paper.  

Frost Paint
I cut out a window frame to put on top of our picture once it dried (so it would look like a scene outside with frost on the window), but the frost was too thick. (Go easy on the epsom salt "paint" next time!). 

Animal Tracks

"The rabbits hopped about as best they could making long funny rabbit tracks in the soft snow."
This was a wonderful time to review animal tracks.

Indoor snowball fight!

What were the children doing in the story?

"The children made a snowman, a snow house, a snow fort, and then had a snowball fight."

I was inspired by these homemade snowballs but added a practical twist - rolled up socks.

The kids donned their snow gear for more authenticity. 

And we used laundry baskets for "snow forts."

By this time we were ready to warm up with hot cocoa and homemade snowflake marshmallows.

Another day we had Hot Cocoa Cookies {with homemade toasted marshmallows}. 

And for dinner one night we had Snowman Pizza. 

Snowman Pizza

We dressed our snowman up a bit. ;-) 

And watched as he started to "melt." 

Our snowman literally melted in the oven, haha!  It was still so good. 

"Each day the sun grew stronger, and the snow melted. Big patches of soft muddy ground showed through the snow the snow in the fields. The sound of dripping, running water and the smell of wet brown earth filled the warm air. . . running water gurgled in the gutters and rain pipes. . . and the children watched for the first robin to tell them Spring had really come."

We've had an usually warm winter (and the kids have enjoyed what little snow we have had), but we have not seen any signs of spring yet. . . and that includes the first robin. But, spring is just around the corner! Yippee! 

Project Life

I've been working on Project Life and sharing our life one week at a time on my family blog (sneaking in bits and pieces of our homeschool - especially with the older boys - when I can.)  I've been thinking lots about a school album. . . and gave it a try this week. Here is our week of White Snow Bright Snow. . . wherein our {FI♥AR} Lap Journal meets Project Life. :) 

I am using Turquoise Edition with Turquoise collection cardstock and Design A and Design F pages, which are both currently available in the Big Variety Pack. 

White Snow Bright Snow is NOT a Five in a Row selection, but ties in nicely with The Snowy Day.

Note:  I bought the lapbook from A Journey Through Learning to go along with our row of The Snowy Day, but I don't see that it is available anymore ~ sorry I can't give you a link. 

See more Winter Fun ideas on my Pinterest Board.

We rowed this during Week 5 and Week 6 of 2012  ~ visit my family blog to see behind the scenes photos of our life this week. :)

In progress: our row of A Pair of Red Clogs and a review of Speekee Spanish.

Delightful Links:

Preschool Corner {& 5K too!}
Project Life Tuesday

Another Celebrated Dancing Bear {FI♥AR}

Another Celebrated Dancing Bear
A "heavy-footed brown bear whose heart is soft as butter," Boris is unhappily employed at the animal hospital. When he sees an ornate poster announcing that his friend Max, "the celebrated dancing bear," is about to tour St. Petersburg, his discontent overwhelms him and he can't control his tears, even as he bravely struggles to congratulate Boris. But Boris, too, is soft-hearted, and he sets about teaching Max to dance. Scheffrin-Falk's first picture book gracefully confronts jealousy, self-doubt (Max "felt a little foolish. Dancing lessons at his age!"), the value of persistence and the power of friendship. Garrison's etchings, framed like snapshots and hand-colored to highlight certain objects (a sash, a jacket, a flower) against sepia-like backgrounds, infuse the volume with the feel of an antique scrapbook. This old-world flavor further enhances the nostalgic imperial Russian setting, replete with samovars, graduated Russian peasant dolls (here shaped like bears) and distant spires." ~ From Publisher's Weekly

Social Studies: Geography and Culture ~ Russia; Social Studies ~ Occupations, Relationships, Hospitality

For our study of Russia, we did the lesson from the manual on the geography and culture of Russia. In addition to the book, we used the lapbook from Homeschool Share and the book Count Your Way Through Russia, by James Haskins. (I found the later book at our library while looking for books on Russia, but was pleased to see that it was suggested in the FIAR Archives, as well). By the end of the week, Malachi was able to find Russia, Moscow, and St. Petersburg on the map by himself. We also learned tidbits of Russian culture.

We talked about what an occupation is and thought up occupations we might enjoy. Malachi's occupations all revolved around his little world of play. :)

I love the story of friendship in this book. We used the story to talk about ways that we can be a good friend and we practiced our hospitality skills by inviting some friends over for tea, offering to take their coat and serving them tea. :)

Language Arts: Vocabulary, Characterization, Drama, Titles

"Mopping her brow"

It was hilarious! We had so much fun with this very active lesson. 

Vocabulary and Characterization lessons  from the manual. We had fun characterizing Malachi and Eliana using similar characterizations as Boris and Max from the story. I wrote them down somewhere, I'm sure. 

Malachi has been working on All About Reading/Spelling, 6-Traits Daily Writing, G&D Handwriting, and Explode the Code Book 3. (I stuck a few samples of his work in my Week 4 post on my family blog.)  Eliana finished Get Ready for the Code Book A and is on Lesson 105 in Language Lessons for Little Ones. I decided to let her finish LL and the ETC primers before continuing on with AAR/AAS. Managing the cards is too confusing with 2 children at different spots in the program. LL and ETC will be a good review and I think she will move through the program more smoothly. I will start it up again when she starts Kindergarten. 

Science: Boiling and Freezing Points of Water

"Max put the samovar to boil." We did this lesson from the manual and discussed what happens to the molecules of water when heat is applied and learned what the boiling point of water is.

Art: Architecture ~ Russian Skyline

Russia is known for it's "onion domes." 

We used the patterns from the manual to make our skyline.

Math: Hours on a Clock, Seven Days in a Week

When I told them we'd be learning about telling time, they asked if they could play What Time is it Mr. Fox? They've played this game a couple years in a row during a British Soccer Camp (Challenger Soccer).

I printed the bear paws from Jolanthe's Going on a Bear Hunt Printables, to use for the lesson in the manual, but Elli wanted to do her own thing with them, so I let that idea go. (The lesson in the manual is a neat one, though).

We used My Book of Easy Telling Time to practice time instead.

Malachi covered the days in a week in Life of Fred Butterflies and we answered the questions from the manual. He finished his Fred book and Singapore 1A book last week and Eliana finished her Earlybird Math - Textbook and Activity Book A.

Tea Time: Tea, Russian "Black Bread" and Strawberry Preserves.

Our tea party spread included whole strawberries, danish and even mini "bear claws" but the rye bread toast with strawberry preserves was a hit!

We had a very casual (as in they showed up about 15 minutes after I got home from picking up supplies, LOL, and I put it all together while our guests were here.  They were so full of grace. :) 

I read the book to all the kids (Mali and Elli plus 5 friends). 

The next morning, we had a bear tea party with the rest of the bread and preserves for breakfast.  

The bread is Pete's Rye from Sheridan Baking Company. They sliced it for me. So good! 


Lap Journal:

Russian Skyline 

Another Celebrated Dancing Bear is a Five in a Row selection from Volume 1.

Sending out a big thank you for the personal emails and comments from those who encouraged me and gave me permission to take a break from FIAR! :) I'm taking this time to plan for our coming year and finish up some basics. I'll update our curriculum page as we complete a subject.

Delightful Links:

Resources and Lapbook @ Homeschool Share
Bear Claw Cookies (so wanted to make these!)