A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
After our lovely trip to the Dead Sea, Claire realized the next day that she had left her precious box of Barbie trinkets (you know, all the little tiny things that go with Barbies...like the shoes, purses, crowns, silverware, dishes, food, etc.) at the hotel! Yikes! Normally, I'd just say, "too bad" (yes, I'm a mean mom)...and admittedly, I did say just that (I TOLD her not to bring that!!), but I called the hotel anyway to see if they had it there. They did! So, we got to drive back down to the dead sea and pick up her special box...along with a few other things she had left there! (Apparently, she decided to 'move in' and put her things in the drawers and we didn't know that! She had a few purses, some slippers and some Barbies along with her box of stuff! Sheesh.) Well, since we had to go that way anyway, we decided to make the best of it and go on a school field trip to the new Dead Sea Panorama Complex! It's a museum about the Dead Sea along with some spectacular views--it's situated on a cliff--and some cool cliff-side hikes! We got down to the hotel (luckily, it's only 35min away), picked up Claire's stuff, then went on a little further down the road and up some awesome switchbacks to the museum complex! (The best part, though, was halfway up when Claire just HAD to go to the bathroom--she gets a little crazy when that happens--think Apple Dumpling Gang--so I stopped next to a little ditch, gave her some baby wipes, and told her to go down into the ditch...and then Peter and Andrew decided they needed to go, too, so they climbed down--except that Peter climbed back up the other side and did his business up at the top. I tried to hide as cars would pass and 3 of my children were relieving themselves on the side of the road...)
The ride down the switchbacks was SO cool, as I could see the view a little better this time, and I could see Jerusalem!! It was so neat to see that as we went back down the mountain! :) Would I go back? Yep. Good times.
I adore history. So, regardless of what unit we're doing, I'm doing a totally separate study on history. We're studying the Ancients this year. It's SO cool. The kids learned about making ancient pottery, so we got out some cool clay and made some fun things out of clay! (It wasn't self-hardening clay, so it never dries--the stuff is super cool and the kids make new things with it every day!)
He he... That's one of my favorite lines from Muppet Treasure Island...
But, this has nothing to do with muppets and everything to do with dead stuff! :) Well, not really dead things, either. Just a big Dead Sea!
We made some big plans with some friends, packed our bags and headed down to the Dead Sea for Thanksgiving this year! We ate our big traditional dinner the night before (on Josh's birthday!) and then took off Thanksgiving morning for a fun romp at the sea, some swimming, some relaxing, and some fun with friends! :)
We made many forays to the hotel pool where the kids were fish! :) They had such a ball--and the view of the dead sea and the mountains on the Israel side was SO beautiful! (The pictures, of course, don't do it justice since it was pretty cloudy...) My favorite was Andrew, though, as he would climb up the side of the jacuzzi, make friends with whomever was in there, then jump off the edge of the jacuzzi into the big pool! He got away with it a few times before the life guard had to tell him to stop...Ha!!
We took some time to float in the Dead Sea... That water is SO COOL!! You can SEE that it's a salt and water solution--the water looks almost greasy! It feels thick, sort of like unset jello, and you really do float like a cork! I can't wait to do it again! (Of course, poor Josh and Claire with their eczema...that wasn't so nice...)
Peter refused to get into the water. He had a great time, though, playing in the rocks on the shore! He is a little climber! So, really, he had the best day ever! :)
It was sure funny to watch him clamber over the rocks and giggle and squeal over the different colors and fun times he was having all by himself!
At the end of our lovely day there, we took the time to walk around the hotel and the beach area of the sea and watch the sun set. It was SO lovely and peaceful! The colors were gorgeous and we enjoyed our evening walk together.
I got some cool shots from the car...our first view of the dead sea, the sign that shows the turn-off for the baptism site, some cool buildings, a bedouin camp...and then some cool pics of the Israeli mountains across from us.
Overall, it was a great trip. We really enjoyed our stay at a really cool landmark! We'll definitely go back again!
We did some experiments with paper--and decided to make our own! They loved ripping the paper all up and adding different colors. And who wouldn't like throwing paper into a bowl full of water and watching it fall apart? Throwing the paper into the blender and then rolling it out into paper was actually quite fun. Sadly, I didn't get any good pictures of our final result, but we had a great time!
I admit it, sometimes I let the kids eat in the car. If we're going on long-ish trips, they can eat snacks as long as they throw the trash into trash bags.
The other day, I went out to clean out the trash bags from the car, and I found a ziplock bag with a few plum pits in it. Inside the bag were 2 (ONLY 2) fruit flies. I quickly zipped it closed and thought, "This will make a cool experiment!"
I wrote up this little paper--how fast do fruit flies multiply? and then pinned the bag to the cork board to await the results.
Whoa. It was definitely cooler than any experiment that I've had planned before! Just goes to show that serendipity is by far one of the best teachers! :)
In 2 weeks, we went from the proud owners of 2 fruit flies to well over 200! And watching them grow and multiply was OH SO GROSS! A cool boy experiment. Still makes me shiver. But now, all my kids know exactly what the life cycle of a fruit fly looks like. Sweet.
Here was a fun little science day... We learned about N/S poles of magnets. We taped a bar magnet to the top of a matchbox car, and used another one to move it along the hallway! We had magnetic car races! The kids loved it and learned lots about the opposite poles!
I can count on my hand (probably) the number of times church has been cancelled for something. Usually, in the places where I've lived, it's been cancelled because of snow/extreme cold. Today, we had a first: Church was cancelled because of riots and protesting. Oh, we don't know if there really would be lots of violent protests or not, but there is a chance of it. The people are angry. I don't blame them. This time, it wasn't anything the Americans did (whew!!). A few days ago, the Prime Minister announced that the government was no longer going to subsidize the gas (gas for cars/heat/cooking). All fuel prices were raised 30-40% or more. People are NOT happy. It's not as if people are rich here. I'm sure that there was a reason behind the cuts (probably the fact that the govt doesn't have a lot of money to spare, but then, who does??), but cutting the subsidies for the people? Not super smart. I wonder if it will stick or if the govt will come out with a compromise, or if they'll just say, "Just kidding!" and take it back?
As an end of unit project, I got Josh a 'make your own' light project. So, during our usual morning routine time, he opened it up, followed all the directions, and put this thing together all on his own. This kid LOVES to put things together and make things work. He invents his own way if he can't figure out another way. I was super impressed that he got all this put together--gears, wires, etc., all locked in place, and spent the rest of the day lighting up the house for all of us! :)
Our Unit on Inventions went out with a bang! We found a kit for a rocket (a VERY simple rocket: think 'volcano' ingredients--vinegar and baking soda just to give it some good thrust) and went out to a big parking lot near our house to have ourselves a 'blast'! He he...I'm full of bad puns today...
Sadly, it really only worked once. We need to sit down and figure out what to do better. It made a fun mess, though, and when it did work, it was pretty spectacular (and scared the heck out of me, because I was actually holding it at the time...my bad)!!! Our good buddy Jazamin came to play with us, too, so she joined in the fun and started up a rousing (yet short) game of football (American style) and a race across the lot with bikes! Hooray!
It's hard to believe that my little girl is already 8 years old! She is such a sweet little girl--full of love for everyone around her. I love watching her grow and watching her learn. She is a joy!
This year, I think she celebrated her birthday probably 15 times. Ok, so maybe not quite that many. But sometimes it seemed like it...
We had our family party on her birthday--and we had a few friends there for that. (Um, I look totally gross...sorry...we did this little celebration after Tae Kwon Do and I hadn't showered yet! So focus on the birthday girl and pay no attention to the lady in the bright pink t-shirt.)
Princess Claire and Magic Fairy Queen Mom!
Then, because 8 is a special year, we had a birthday party for her, too! We made it an all-girl Princess party! We kicked the boys out and invited only girls to our house! Claire LOVED it! We did lots of little crafts--they made crowns, masks and bracelets. We played 'Pin the Mask on the Princess'--I told them the princess was going to a Masque Ball, so she needed to put on her mask! It was hilarious! Then we ran outside and hit the butterfly princess pinata (yes, I made it myself) and filled the goody bags full of candy! After that, we ate our Strawberry Marvel cake, Claire opened her presents and then all the girls danced to Shrek Party CD music with giant balloons. I heard the party was a real hit and all the girls seemed to have a great time!
Then, of course, we come to the highlight of the 8 year olds' birthday in our faith: Baptism! Claire was baptized on November 10th in Amman, Jordan. That is pretty cool, if you ask me! She enjoyed her day. It was so lovely watching her be baptized by her father! (And I thought it very entertaining that as soon as Devin began the baptismal prayer, the call to prayer started being broadcast by a nearby mosque!) We had quite a group of people there for the baptism and people brought cookies and cupcakes to share. Claire's sweet primary teacher (her name is Erapie and she's from the Philippines) gave a talk, and so did Josh! (Josh even wrote his talk himself!!) It was a lovely program. I loved helping Claire get all changed after being baptized. I feel so blessed to have such a sweet and lovely daughter! I'm grateful she made the decision to be baptized. It's a big step to take, and I know she doesn't do it lightly.
Happy Birthday Dear Claire! We all love you so much!!!
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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