A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
A few of the crafts we've made in the past few weeks (button art and painting rocks):
Almost right in front of our house is a canal that leads straight out to the ocean. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), it's hard to get there. You have to walk around a long way, since there is no direct path there. So, we went for a walk over to the canal to look at it and see what we could see! We saw a monitor lizard and a pelican! We also saw a really cool 'rainbow' circle around the sun! I thought it was a really lovely place to walk--even though the water really is disgusting and full of trash. It's too bad, really, as it could be such a beautiful and peaceful place! I wish people would take more pride in their country and work harder to keep it clean. Even a poor country's people can avoid throwing trash into water supplies. Oh well. If you can overlook the garbage, it's a treat to walk next to the canal, since it avoids the traffic infested roads full of honking buses, swerving tuk-tuks, and clouds of exhaust... :)
A few more finished puzzles to post... The dolphin one is super creepy, honestly. It sort of weirded us all out. Luckily, it's missing lots of pieces, so we don't have to feel obligated to keep it! Ha! The Paris one was super cool--unfortunately, it met with an untimely accident before I could get a picture of the finished product. I really love this puzzle table! It's so nice to always have a puzzle out and people are just drawn to it to put together a few pieces here and there, or to spend some time together figuring it all out. We like puzzles!
It's always important to play games with the family! :) The American Center had a game night, so off we went to have some fun and play some games! We were introduced to a couple of new fun games and met a few new friends. That's always nice.
We had some fun at FHE, too! Claire taught the lesson on the Word of Wisdom, so we cut out pictures from magazines--on one side of our paper were the things that are good and healthy. On the other side, things that aren't so good. We got VERY silly and had a wonderful time! Some examples of our silliness: things you shouldn't eat: toilets, cat food, cat litter, girls, Mr. Clean, shampoo, nail polish, makeup, wrinkle cream, laundry detergent, and people kissing! Ha!! Plus, the girls made our picture just a little tiny bit bigger than the original paper... Now that's thinking outside the box! Ha!
Our coconut tree was VERY full of coconuts, so someone came, climbed our tree, and knocked all the coconuts down! Neat! The boys and I enjoyed watching...
What do we do on our days off? What do we do in our spare time? Well, this past week has been our 'One Week Off'. We do schooling year round: 6 weeks on, one week off. It works really well for us. The kids are more motivated to do school work if there is a steady set block of time off. Yes, we get other holidays, too...we take off any days that Devin gets off (American and local holidays) plus birthdays, and we still manage to get more than 180 days of school per year!
Anyway, here is a little glimpse into what we do on our time off:
Well, this isn't technically a 'day off'--it's our Friday afternoon activity! We have 'handicraft day' on Friday afternoons. This particular Friday, everyone joined in and learned about Quilling! (Usually it's just Claire and myself making things, but EVERYONE loved this one!) Some of the projects got a little elaborate...and still aren't finished...but Andrew made a cool tornado! And Josh got tired of rolling up the paper with his hands, so he invented a 'robot' that would wind the paper for him! Ha! Now that's thinking outside the box!
One of our days off last week was the big Poya holiday here called Vesak. It's a Buddhist celebration of the birth, life, and death of Buddha. And boy, do they pull out all the stops! It was so beautiful! There's free food and ice cream all around, lanterns are lit hanging overhead, and every building is covered in lights! My camera was having some issues with the night lights AND it kept fogging up because it was SO humid! Oh well. You get the idea.
Of course, it LOOKS really cool--but what you don't have is the pictures of my kids' grouchy faces because it was REALLY hot and humid and they just wanted to go home! Ha! Isn't that funny, though? Every beautiful picture has its back story...
Moving on... Another thing we've done this week is break out a new Lego Education program: Simple and Mechanized Machines. It's mostly for the little boys, since Josh has advanced way beyond it. We worked with gears and force of motion. (Yes, this is a day off.) They swept the sidewalk all clean and had a great time! :)
Claire, of course, enjoyed some time improving the skills she's acquired in the past few months. She has been thoroughly enjoying time with her 'sisters'--Stephanie and Fiona. These girls are such a huge blessing to our family right now! They are an absolute joy to have in our home--they smile all the time, help out all the time, and treat my kids like their own siblings! They play with Peter, listen to Andrew, but most of all, they hang out with Claire. She has really struggled with this move and has needed friends and understanding ears. She has found that with her new big sisters. :) They take her on walks and they talk together and make plans; they cook and clean together and have tea/movie parties. It's wonderful to watch! This week, they set up a salon. It's called 'Fashion Bunnys' (spelled wrong on purpose, because all logos are spelled wrong!), and they have a ledger, a bell, lots of nail polish and lotions and other items of beauty, comfy chairs, magazines for many reading interests, flyers with services and prices, gift certificates...and many ideas of things to come! I think of it as her semi-permanent lemonade stand. :) She doesn't do a bad job, and it's sure nice to sit down and get a foot massage for 270 rupees, and get my fingernails painted for 50 rupees. :) She's been taking salon classes, so she's using this as extra practice. If anyone is nearby and wants to take a break, her salon is open most afternoons--and is mostly advertised by word-of-mouth. Spread the word!
She's also still doing a lot of baking. Cupcakes, muffins, scones, fry bread, and the other day she made a layered cake in honor of Fiona passing her big exam!
There are days when I worry that she's doing too much baking...but it's a good outlet for her. She is gaining a lot of confidence with it, and learning a lot of things (like remembering to read the box...she was making icing a week or so ago, and instead of pouring in a box of powdered sugar, she poured in a box of Bisquick pancake mix! Doh!)--plus I don't get bugged for snacks or to make extra things--she just does it! AND it makes her little brothers SO happy! She's made Peter change from a screaming maniac to one happy camper on more than one occasion just this week by offering to make cupcakes or blueberry muffins for a dance/movie party. It makes me happy to see them finding ways to help each other and lift each other...even if it does involve a whole lot of sugar. At least it's homemade, eh? It could be a lot worse. They could be like me when I was a kid with hundreds of packs of Little Debbie snacks hidden all over my room and drinking a Pepsi for lunch every day. Yah, when I say it that way, they're better off this way.
More baking of Claire included a special birthday cake for Devika's birthday! I made this cake for her 4 years ago, so it was Claire's turn this time! :) It's called a 'hot fudge sundae cake'--it bakes in a way that makes it cake on the top, and a hot fudge sauce on the bottom, so you have a really great hot fudge sundae in the making! :) We also had a yummy meal with NOTHING Sri Lankan--fresh salsa and guacamole, Central American style, Tortilla chips from America, roasted chicken wings and wild rice... All super yummy! We certainly like birthdays at our house!
And last, but not least, art with Grandma!! Yes, again, that's technically a school subject, but we LOVE doing art with Grandma! Yesterday, we got to use graphite paper to trace a water lily onto a flat canvas and paint it Monet style! ALL the kids loved it--even Peter once I got him into the room! Of course, he wasn't interested in using oil paints like the rest of the kids. He just used water colors. Here are the pictures thus far...Andrew and Josh are done, while Peter and Claire are planning to continue with their projects as they go:
Other things we've done...I've spent countless hours updating the school transcripts online. I keep pretty good written records, which is good, but this year I wanted the kids to have really nice report cards and true to life grades. In the past, I just did a basic overall assessment and filled out their report card. This year, I have EVERYTHING entered into the program I'm using and it's pretty awesome. It has all that they've done with their grades, their tests (including the standardized one), extra activities, attendance, etc. Pretty neat stuff! I'm hoping that with the hours I've spent on it over the past week that I'll be able to keep up with it better next year and really utilize it, since I'll have a high school freshman on my hands!! Oh my. It's really happening. Josh will be starting high school. Wow. Good times. :) Even when there's no school, well, there's still learning and fun going on!
Who Am I?
As a Stay At Home Mom of 4 wonderful children, I have the amazing opportunity not only to home school them, but to do so in many different places! I am married to the most amazingly wonderful (and handsome) man in the whole world! Together, we seek out, every day, that Joy in the Journey that makes life exciting!
by Dan Brown
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