Thursday, March 24, 2011

Still here

Its been a crazy week.  I'm exhausted.  I don't think you're supposed to be already tired when you wake up in the morning.  Monkey is cutting teeth and up every night a couple of times.  I'm really too old for this.  I feel it ten times the next day!!

So, here's what we've been up to in pictures:

Monkey practicing her horse riding skills

Of course, we can't forget our hat!

The three oldest at their riding lesson.  I guess I had a smudge on my lens.

TL's first lesson

When we left the lessons, this guy was just sitting in a tree on the side of the road

Have a great week!!  Daddy comes home this weekend and I'm taking a nap!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekly wrap up/japan update/Curriculum review

This week has been a mixture of juggling school while watching the news.  Its difficult for any of us to concentrate with our friends lives in jeopardy. 

Contrary to news reports, the dependents are NOT being evacuated.  The military is assisting them with with a VOLUNTARY DEPARTURE.  It is not mandatory.  They are not forcing everyone to leave.  There are some that are opting to stay.

Hopefully, I'll find out in a few hours where and when they are sending my friends.  We've heard they are being sent to three different cities on the west coast, Seattle is one of them.  I've offered our home for those that need it.  We'll work out space somehow!!

We've managed to do the basics and even a little science and history this week.  I'm totally surprised we got that much done. 

I knew that Princess needed to start learning her mulitplication table and I've been dreading it.  It took forever for her to memorize her addition/subtraction facts.  I finally got the addition/subtraction storybook from  Only took a few weeks for her facts to be memorized!  I was sooooo grateful.

Today we started her multiplication facts.  I went ahead and ordered the cd rom and flashcards for the multiplication facts.  I love the cdrom and so did Princess!!  She knew her one's and zero's and today learned her 2's and 3x3 and 3x4.   The stories are fun and engaging and there are songs and games to play.  It makes learning the facts fun.  Much more interesting than doing the flashcards everyday!!  If only we'd had this years ago when I was learning them!!

I'll tell you that it is pricey.  The cdrom was $44 and the flashcards were extra.  I didn't purchase the teacher's guide or the workbook.  I didn't find them that useful for the addition facts so I didn't bother spending the money.  Each of the flashcards has a picture of the story on it for the kids to remember the story and answer.  I had thought that it would be difficult to remember all of that, but it wasn't.  The girls really enjoyed learning their addition/subtraction facts.  With four children to get through multiplication facts, I figured that the investment was worth it.

The Writing Menu-what a success!!  The girls had a great time doing their assignments this week.  I did figure out though, that if I'm working on teaching them something in history, science, or geography, I need to wait until the following week to do the writing assignmnet.  It just didn't work out well this week.  I'm extending their assignment until next week so they can complete their writing assignments. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Evacuation from Japan

This Link has the video from the co from Atsugi Naval Air Station regarding the voluntary departure of families of military members from Japan.  Please, note, that this is voluntary, not a mandatory evacuation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


First, thank you all for your continued prayers.  Japan still needs them as do the service members and their families.  The Rear Admiral in Yokosuka (pronounce Yokoska) just put out a message that time outside should be limited due to low radiation levels.  Also, vents to the outside should be closed if at all possible.

We lived in Atsugi, which is also under the warning.  I'm sure that Zama and Yokota are also under warnings. 

The area is still being hit with huge aftershocks.  A 6.0 hit an hour ago.  The family members are getting extremely nervous, with the continued aftershocks and the radiation warning. I'll tell you also, that the members that are married to the Japanese are stating that the Japanese think another big one is coming.

I hope this map helps you understand where the troops are stationed in Japan. 

I have a friend whose a missionary, that's trying to get her and her kids out of Japan.  They are collecting donations to do so.  If you are interested in helping that way, please let me know and I'll send you the link

I also wanted to say thank you for all your prayers when the tsunami was bearing down on us.  Thankfully, even though I'm on an islans, we're well enough inland in the Puget Sound and on the east side, so we didn't have any affect here.

Thank you all and God Bless!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan cont'd

Our friend's husband, Minoru, has been found safe in Tokyo.  He was able to finally get through to his wife and we are so grateful.

And now, more problems.  The Nuclear reactor is not cooling.  Sea water is being used as a last resort.  Please continue to pray. 

Friday, March 11, 2011


Many of you know we lived in Japan for three years.  We still have many friends there.  All have been accounted for and all are well.  The military bases were spared major damage and threat of tsunami.

Only one is unaccounted for.  Our friend Kumi's husband.  Minoru is in the Japanese navy and was in Tokyo at the time.  Their son, Tacty, came to stay with us this summer.  We're pretty sure he's just stuck in Tokyo or at a train station.  All trains are down, its too long of a walk, and the phones are down too.  Please continue to pray for this family.  They are a wonderful Christian family and we hope the best for them!!

Thank you!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Writing Menu

Sorry you didn't hear from me last week.  The stomach flu hit the two youngest and then myself on Friday-the afternoon that I had to take my proctored final exam.  I have no idea what I wrote, I just wanted out of there.  I got a B, so either he was very generous, or I didn't do as badly as I thought.  I hope to get an A in the class, but my term paper has to be graded yet.  In my stupid music class, I got a B for a final grade.  That guy wanted everything listed in your essay that was in the 60 pages of reading and marked off if it wasn't-and you only had 450 words to do it in.  I thought I was doing poorly, until I realized that my 70-80% was above average from the rest of the class.  This easy humanities class was very difficult indeed!!

Princess came down with the flu bug today and Bug-a-bug is now complaining of a tummy ache.  With school interrupted for almost three weeks we really need to get cracking this week.  I just finished the writing menu for the girls for the week.  You'll notice that the dinner choices are weird.  I'm always making up weird things when they ask what's for dinner, so that's a little joke of ours.  I decided not to focus on writing skills this week, just introduce them to the writing menu.  I used our history, science and geography lessons for the appetizers and main dishes.  I used some items I found in the book If You're Trying to Teach Kids to How to Write've gotta have this book by Marjorie Frank.  I got it years ago and it has great creative writing ideas.

Here's their menu:
Your Writing Menu

Appetizers-you may pick any two to do

• Cheese sticks-Name three kinds of rocks (5pts)

• Nachos-Name three kinds of sedimentary rocks (5pts)

• Buffalo Wings-Identify the word territory (5pts)

• Blooming Onion-Identify the Treaty of Paris (5pts)

Main Course-you may pick any one to write about (25pts)

• Fried Frog Lips-Pick an animal that lives in Australia and draw a picture of it. Write a paragraph about the animal and tell why you would or wouldn’t want it for a pet.

• Monkey Butt Pie-Pretend that you live in Australia in the Outback. Write a list of five Australian words that you would use. Then write a paragraph about living in the Outback.

Dessert-you may choose one to write about (10pts)

• Ice Cream Sundae-Write a shape poem

• Apple Pie-Make an invitation for a friend of yours to come on a trip to outer space

Hope that this goes well with the girls.  As we get more into it, I plan on adding more choices for them. 
Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Writing Menu

For those of you that follow this blog, I know all five of you, you are aware that TL has struggled with writing.  This year, we're using IEW's Student Writing Intensive, which is fantastic.  We love it.  I love the concept's it teaches and the skills it gives him.  I was lucky to have found the parent's dvd's at the library, so the program wasn't as costly for me to use.

When I watched the instructor video, it was like Andrew was talking to me.  He said that generally (and not all the time) when instructed to write a 3 page essay, girls will write ten pages of flowery words and boys will stare at blank paper.  It makes it even more difficult when you give them a creative writing assignment.  He said that boys get terrified with thinking of writing something creative, then stress over the length, and then oh my, I have to spell and do correct grammer?  For the past few years, I've pulled creative writing assignments from journal prompts thinking how fun it would be for him to write, and he hated it.  He could never think of anything to write.  Now, I understand why. 

One of the biggest problems that I have is that writing comes pretty easy to me.  No, I don't often proofread my blog to correct things, but generally I'm a decent writer.  And apparently, because I am, I struggle to teach my son writing skills.

So, anyway, I recomment IEW for I'd say 6th grade and above.

Now, I didn't want the girls to fall into the same trap, although I see a huge difference.  They are eager to write and do so all day without me even asking.  What a difference it is!

I just found the book The Writing Menu by Melissa Forney.  It is sooooo cool!!  You basically sit down and figure out what your learning  the next few weeks.  Now you make your menu of writing assignments for the kids to choose from.

From the Appetizers menu, you give short writing assignments that equal about five points.
  • List five animals that can be found in the desert
  • Write a complete sentence that includes a scientific fact about a rain forest animal
  • Make a list of community helpers in our town
From the Main Courses, you design assignments that generally take a little longer to do.  It could be a creative writing assignment, a report on a history or science lesson, etc.  They are about 25 points.

From the  Dessert menu, you design assignments for about 10-15 points.  They are usually creative writing which should be fun for them

From a quick read through this book, she has designed it for public school kids, but what fun for us homeschoolers!!  She also insists on working on skills each week or length of assignment.  She has a nice chart of skills listed for each grade level through eighth grade.  She also has pages of suggestions for writing assignments.

I've decided to incorporate this in our school starting next week.  I look forward to coming up with fun and exciting things for the girls to write about.  TL is still going to use his IEW plan, but I may plan some appetizers, one for each day, to focus on our history and science lessons. 

Have a wonderful week everyone!