Blog Name: Seahawk
Age: 9, almost 10 (birthday is in October)
Grade: 4 (he’s easier to place a number on since his age and grade line up properly)
Favorite School Subject: History
Favorite Food: Baked Ziti and Ice Cream
Favorite Activities: Playing with Legos and completing triathlons
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Book: Biographies (he especially likes learning about anyone who lived between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War)
Something You Don’t Like: Cooked mushrooms. They’re fine raw.
Taking an idea from Sanz at From the Mrs, I’m doing a short “back to school” interview with each kid. Up first, Munchkin.
Blog Name: Munchkin
Age: almost 7
Grade: 2/3 (I’m not super strict with the grade the kids are in – he’s 2nd grade age but 3rd grade academically)
Favorite School Subject: Reading
Favorite Food: Chicken Drumsticks and Peanut Butter Sandwiches, but not at the same meal!
Favorite Activity: Swimming and coloring
Favorite Color: Red
Favorite Book: Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims; Charlotte’s Web
Something You Don’t Like: Zucchini
Happy Monday, everyone :). I hope your weekend was lovely.
It rained quite a bit around these parts. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t good anyway.
So, I don’t have pictures from all of our weekend activities, but let me tell you, it was busy!
I’ve mentioned before that we go to a bilingual church – about 1/3 of us are “white” and the other 2/3 are Hispanic. About half of the Hispanics speak both English and Spanish (which is why we’re making Spanish our foreign language in our homeschool this year – we want to be able to communicate more easily with some of our brothers and sisters [hermanos y hermanas :)] in Christ). My husband is the youth leader in our church; there is one “white” teen and a dozen or so Hispanics. One of the girls turned 15 earlier this summer, and that means a Quinceañera! This one was on Saturday. It was the first time I’d ever been to one, and it was quite an experience. If you ever have an opportunity to attend one (without crashing, lol), I definitely recommend it. It was interesting to see their culture outside of our regular church service – which to be honest, includes the Spanish language, but not much of the culture. They did the “whole shebang” from the dress to all the gifts to the fancy reception afterward. I said afterward that it was like a wedding with no groom! That’s how fancy it was.
On Sunday after church, we had a wedding reception (with both bride and groom this time!). My husband’s cousin got married. The happy couple won an all-expenses-paid wedding cruise in Portland, so they had limited space for the ceremony, which meant we only got to go to the reception. It was nice to see some of the extended family again.
I also spent a little bit of time with my sewing machine. Remember that I only have a few outfits? Well, the spaghetti straps on my dresses broke, so I had to fix that. It’s not the first time I’ve had to do so with these particular dresses, but it’s an easy task so I don’t mind doing it too much. Unfortunately this time, though, one of the straps completely detached in the laundry a few weeks ago. I remember setting it aside so that I could reattach it, but do you think I could find that strap when it was actually time to make the repair? Of course not! So I cut two inches off the bottom of the dress and made new, thicker straps and then rehemmed the bottom. It was a little terrifying to cut up my dress – I love it! – but as my hubby said, I couldn’t have made it worse. It was already unwearable. In the end, it turned out perfectly though. I’ll do a full post on how I did it later this week :).
What did you do this weekend?
We had one of those nights this week when the baby just wouldn’t go to sleep. As much as it pains me, we had to let (make?) him cry it out in his crib. When he quieted down about 10 minutes after we left the room, I came to check on him and found this. I think it definitely wins the prize for Craziest Position in Which to Fall Asleep!
Have a great weekend!
When you hear the words “teen pregnancy,” what comes to mind? If you’re being completely honest, probably something judgmental. It’s a nasty part of our human nature that can rear its ugly head whether we want it to or not. The Pregnancy Project: A Memoir by Gaby Rodriguez explores that part of us, and her findings were . . . I want to say “fascinating,” but I’m not sure that’s enough. Or maybe that’s being too nice. Yes, “fascinating” isn’t the right word at all. Her findings were exactly what she expected they would be, only magnified several times over.
Let me back up a bit and explain the project in case you haven’t heard Gaby’s story, as I hadn’t until her book caught my eye and I picked it up at the library yesterday.
Her high school, like many others these days, requires a “senior project” for graduation – something that either teaches the student a new, marketable skill (my sister-in-law did an internship at a radio station), or something that interests the student (volunteering at an animal shelter, with a social worker, or in a bakery), or something that the student thinks will make a real difference in his or her community. The latter is what Gaby Rodriguez chose.
The youngest of 8 children, and born when her mom was only 35, Gaby had an upward battle ahead of her from birth. Her mom and all of her sisters were teen mothers, and it was just expected that she would become one too. The fact that she was an honor student never entered anyone’s thoughts when they laid our their expectations for her. She didn’t want to follow in her family’s footsteps. She wanted to forge her own way in life. She wanted to make a difference in her school. In her community. That’s just what she ended up doing, only much larger than even she expected.
During her junior year of high school, she chose her senior project and got approval from her principal. Usually that was done during the first part of one’s senior year, but Gaby’s project required more notice and preparation than a typical senior project. You see, she wanted to explore stereotypes and how rumors can affect people. Which friendships are for real and which ones aren’t. And this goes for family as well as friends. How was she going to do this? By living down to everyone’s expectations of her. By getting pregnant in high school.
But Gaby was too smart for that. She knew she didn’t want a baby at 17. And she was responsible enough to make sure it didn’t happen. So in order to conduct her experiment, she decided to fake a pregnancy. She told the minimum number of people she could (her principal, the school superintendent, her mother, one sister, best friend, boyfriend, and doctor) in order to keep the results as pure as possible. Her principal and superintendent had to approve the project. Her mom helped her with the fake “baby bump,” and her best friend and sister were her eyes and ears when she wasn’t around. They took notes for her and helped her prepare her final presentation.
Her family was disappointed in her. Her classmates talked often about how they weren’t surprised because of her family history (though never to her face). Her boyfriend (3 years older than her, so no longer in school) was the butt of everyone’s criticisms. And Gaby herself was frustrated, angry, and borderline depressed at times. She thought she’d been prepared for the project, but the downright meanness of most of the people she encountered was even more than she’d bargained for.
Fast forward to the end of the school year. The principal arranged an all-school assembly for the “big reveal.” Her mom and boyfriend were in the audience (when asked by a teacher how far along Gaby was just before the assembly, his reply was “it will be over soon” – I loved that!), as well as a local newspaper reporter. She showed YouTube videos supporting her claims of the negative impact rumors and stereotypes can have on young people and talked about how hard it was to be a pregnant teenager. Fifteen minutes into the presentation, she made the announcement, “I’m not pregnant” and removed her fake belly. Gasps could be heard all over the auditorium, followed seconds later by applause. She’d made her impact on the students.
The next day, she learned that she’d made an impact far bigger than she ever dreamed possible. She didn’t get a small, two-paragraph article buried deep inside the local paper, she got a front-page, above the fold article that was sent to the Associated Press. Within mere hours, news outlets from all over the nation wanted to interview The Girl Who’d Faked a Pregnancy.
So. Onto my thoughts on the book.
I wasn’t looking for a book to read when I went to the library yesterday. We went there for a “back to school” even they had for kids, and I wanted to get some books to help us learn Spanish. But this book caught my eye (it was cover-out on the shelf of new releases), and I stopped to look more closely at the cover. The subtitle, “I pretended to be pregnant in high school” intrigued me, so I checked the book out. No harm if I didn’t finish it, or didn’t like it; it was a library book – it wasn’t like I was paying money to read it. I came home and started reading right away. I couldn’t put it down. Her storytelling is very good for someone so young (even if she did tell her story to a professional writer who actually wrote the book). Her project idea was incredible; I don’t think it was something I would ever have had the courage to do in high school, even if I had done a senior project (my school introduced the infamous idea the year after I graduated). She caught a lot of flack from media types, especially bloggers, after her story went viral. A lot of people thought she was just attention seeking. After reading her memoir, I feel comfortable saying that was certainly not her goal. She just wanted to draw attention to a very real problem in her community and raise awareness for people in how they treat these young men and women. Yes, men, too. It takes two to make a baby, and the boys are often forgotten in the teen pregnancy epidemic.
I think the book can be a good learning tool for mothers of teen daughters. “Just look at what this girl went through, and she wasn’t even really pregnant.” It can be a warning of sorts. We need to raise our sons and daughters to understand the consequences of their actions, and those consequences (in this case) start long before the responsibility of the baby actually comes along. You can lose your friends. Your family might be mad at you. And on and on.
The book itself was a quick read – I was able to read the whole thing (218 pages) yesterday. The content was interesting, and the style simple. I definitely recommend reading Gaby’s story if you can find it at your local library.
Last week was crazy busy. We had Vacation Bible School at our church (basically a 3 hour Bible “camp” for kids each day – there’s a Bible history lesson, and then stations for craft, snack, Scripture memorization, and outdoor game that kids rotate through) and hubby and I were both participants.
Compound that with me busily working on a quilt for a wedding gift (hubby’s cousin is getting married on Sunday), and that means no blogging.
But this week all I have to do is get ready for school. We’re starting on September 3rd.
School prep will probably make VBS seem like nothing.
But I digress.
Today’s post is all about Seahawk. He’s 9 and arguably the most athletic person in our family, although the rest of us are getting there. Last month there was a triathlon at one of the pools we frequent, and he really wanted to participate. He even set aside some allowance money for the entry fee ($15).
He wasn’t able to do that one.
When we got back from vacation, he had a terrible earache. When it didn’t go away once we back at our normal elevation (we live at about 200 feet, but had spent a week at 3000 feet), I took him to the doctor. 2 days before the triathlon, he was diagnosed with an ear infection – swimmer’s ear – and told by the doctor that he couldn’t swim until it was cleared up.
He was crushed.
But the doctor had good news, too. The YMCA 8 miles from home (of which she’s a member) was hosting its own triathlon in a few weeks – well after his ear would be healed. So we put that on our calendar in big letters.
Saturday was the big day. Starting at 10 a.m., participants did a 50-yard swim, a 2-mile bike ride, and a half-mile run.
Here he is waiting his turn to get in the pool for the swim. The triathlon was a “just for fun, can you finish it” thing, not a race.
In the pool.
Getting dressed after the swim in preparation for the bike portion.
Ready to ride!
Taking off for the 2-mile ride through the neighborhood surrounding the Y.
Back from the run!
This was a very positive experience for Seahawk. He loved every minute of it. Well, maybe not every minute. He didn’t like the run. But still. We will definitely be doing this again next year if we’re still living in the area (we don’t have immediate plans to move, but God might have just not told us yet). And next year, the whole family will participate because it’s a Family Triathlon. We just didn’t have good bikes and/or trailers for everyone this year.
We can’t wait!
I’m sure you know by now that I homeschool my boys. I don’t really keep that a secret. I’ve been doing it since they were small, but never very well, I don’t think. Now, I know they’ve learned stuff; I just have some major improvement to do.
In the early years, we did the “all workbook, all the time” approach simply because I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t want to miss anything. We had workbooks for math, reading, language arts, spelling, and writing. We did a lesson from each one every day.
The boys hated it.
And if I’m being perfectly honest, while I was comfortable in knowing I wasn’t lacking as a teacher, I didn’t love it either. It wasn’t what “home school” was supposed to be. I’m not of the unschool philosophy; that’s taking it too far. But learning should be fun. If all I was going to do was have them fill out worksheets all day, they could do that in public school and at least have a park (playground) to play at during specified times.
Last year, we just did the workbook for math. We did unit studies for everything else. There were some successes, but by and large, I don’t think it was enough.
So I’m going to try yet another approach this year. I came across Ambleside Online a few weeks ago. They offer completely free curriculum from Kindergarten through high school, in the Charlotte Mason style. For those of you who don’t know, Charlotte Mason was a British woman who lived from 1842-1923 and spent her life developing a teaching method for children using “living books” (real books by people who care about their topic rather than textbooks). She believed that children are not blank slates, but small people and should be treated as such. She had three main mottoes regarding education.
“Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.”
“Education is the science of relations.”
“I am, I can, I ought, I will.”
I like these phrases. I like the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education. So I’m going to try it with my boys this year. For the first time in our homeschooling career together, I’m excited for the school year to start.
Here’s what we’ll be studying in our first term (we’re going to do three, 12-week terms):
Old Testament: Genesis 1-15
New Testament: Matthew 1-10
We’ll be using mostly books that are available for free online, through the library, or inexpensive through the Kindle store.
A Child’s History of the World by V.M. Hillyer (this is available in volumes through our library. You can also get the book as a single volume from Amazon)
An Island Story by H.E. Marshall (this is available for free online and is a history of England)
This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall (available free online; a history of America)
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula (available free online; a series of biographies)
Little Duke by Charlotte Mary Yonge (available free from Amazon for the Kindle version; historical fiction)
The Burgess Animal Book for Children by Thornton Burgess (free online)
Tree in the Trail by Holling Clancy Holling (available in my library; the story of a cottonwood tree growing in the Great Plains and its contribution to the history of the southwest)
Shakespeare: We will be reading Gentlemen of Verona and Romeo and Juliet this term.
Parables of Nature by Margaret Gatty (available online)
Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher (available online)
We will be reading one poem a day by Walter de la Mare. There’s a collection available online.
We will also be reading 800 words a week of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.
We will be studying Johannes Brahms and Vincent van Gogh for our music and art lessons. I have curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler for those.
We will be doing daily lessons of math, copywork (handwriting), reading (silent reading of the kids’ choice), and foreign language (Spanish, because we attend an English/Spanish bilingual church). Math will be a workbook simply because that’s the most cost-effective way to do it. For Spanish, I’m going to start us with an app on my phone. Eventually, I’ll probably ask one of the Hispanic members of our church if they would be willing to give us lessons once a week or so, with assigned homework.
I think that about covers us for the first 12 weeks. 🙂
P.S. Wherever I say “available online” and don’t provide a link, those are on the Ambleside site. I would’ve provided specific links, but I’m short on computer time and don’t want to make this post from my phone ;).