Gore Bay

Simon came home for a few days a couple of weeks ago. We loved seeing him again, and spending time with the family he lives with, as well. We took them out to Gore Bay, since the weather was so lovely. I don’t think I had been out there since January! Everything was so clear and gorgeous.

One of the must-sees in Cheviot is Cathedral Lookout, above the south end of Gore Bay. I never tire of seeing this place. I couldn’t decide which perspective I liked better, so decided to use both pictures.

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Gore Bay was so beautiful that day, too! This is the south end, looking toward Port Robinson. It was high tide, so we didn’t go down to the rocks at the point.

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Mr. Intellectual kept busy a long time building this tower.

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Does it look like Simon is happy to be with his family again?

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We went to the playground, too. I felt dizzy just watching the merry-go-round!

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The Road to Kaikoura

Every time we go to Kaikoura for church, we see changes that have been made in the road since the last time. The road crews are working hard to make things safe! They are hoping to have the job finished by the end of the year. We’ll see—it looks like a lot still to be done.

This spot is where a hillside slipped into the sea in 2010. It took a week to reopen the road and railroad that time, and we called it the Big Slip. Little did we know…. See the bent and twisted posts along that wall? They used to hold up a net to catch rocks. During the earthquake in November 2016, a lot more came down and bent the posts. Those aren’t small posts, either. I took the picture, and the next few, though, because we were marveling at what was happening with the railroad. Large sections of rails and ties, fastened securely together, had been lifted aside, and diggers were smoothing the rocks in the roadbed. In the afternoon when we returned home, they were putting the sections of rails back in place.

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The annual old car show in Kaikoura ended that morning, so we were enjoying watching vintage cars going south to Christchurch.

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Stopping to wait our turn at the one-way stretches means we have more time to admire the beautiful scenery along the coast. This is the Kaikoura Peninsula from the south.

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I don’t think I had ever seen Barney’s Rock so white as this time!

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Spring 2017

The pictures in this post were taken over the course of a month. One Sunday afternoon in September, we drove through the local domain on our way home from church. The daffodils were in full bloom, and so beautiful! Esther wanted me to take a picture of her with Little Miss, so I did. While I was doing that, Mr. Diligence took a picture of me taking the picture!

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The annual Dead Boring bike hike was the second Tuesday of September. Mr. Imagination rode in it, for the first time. I drove him the first 10 km or so, and then he rode his little bike for about 7 km.

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We had left after the older children who rode their bikes the entire 21 km of the route, but soon passed all of them. However, Mr. Imagination went slowly enough that a lot of them passed him up. Here is Mr. Intellectual.

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I always enjoy seeing the farm signs at the gates!

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These curious cows went racing to the corner of their paddock to see the children riding by.

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Mr. Diligence took Little Miss in a seat on the back of his bike. You can just see her helmet sticking up. She was thrilled to get to ride in the bike hike! Just in front of Mr. Diligence, who is wearing a blue-and-black striped shirt, is Mr. Sweetie, in a white shirt with vertical stripes.  They are about to pass Mr. Imagination, in his brown striped sweater. Mr. Diligence and Mr. Sweetie stayed together the whole way.

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One day, Mr. Diligence found these wild ducklings huddled together by the duck pond. No mother was in sight, so he brought them in. Soon, though, she showed up, so he put them back with her.

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This is as close as Princess wants to come to water. She, like a normal cat, minces delicately around puddles. Bandit, on the other hand, races right through them without seeming to notice he’s getting wet! One day, I watched him walk deliberately into the middle of a small puddle, about an inch deep, and start batting at the ripples he created! No wonder he’s usually wet and muddy.

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This has been a common sight this year. Such a contrast to the last few years!

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The cat wants us to shut off the rain—but the waterfowl are loving it!

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The little children are loving it, too. Because of all the rain (four inches in five days a few weeks ago, and four and a half inches in the past five days), the creek in front of our house has been running. When it’s full enough, they boat down it in a half barrel. Yesterday we had a sunny morning, so these three spent time splashing and playing. The boys were having a toe-stomping fight.

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Videos for Grandma

Just for my mom, here are two videos of the little ones.
This first one is of Little Miss counting to 22 when she was playing hide and seek with Mr. Imagination.

This is Mr. Imagination reading me his list of words. He has only learned six sounds so far, but he’s doing quite well at sounding out words. In the background you can hear Little Miss and her incessant questions and comments!

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Dead Boring Concert 2017

Today was our homeschool group’s annual concert. As always, we enjoyed the musical pieces, recitations, songs, and skits performed by the other families, and also sang a couple of songs ourselves. Here are videos of us singing both of them.

Our first song was one we learned in our house church in Michigan, a very beautiful prayer.

Oh, Heavenly Father and merciful Lord,
We come to you now in one mind and accord.
We are so undeserving to make this request,
But with your sweet spirit Lord let us be blessed.

Chorus:
Open the windows and pour out a blessing,
Shower your power upon us O Lord;
Send such a blessing we cannot contain it,
Lord open the windows of heaven today.

So often we’ve witnessed your power so strong,
But yesterday’s blessings are all past and gone.
Once again we come needy as humbly we pray,
And that’s why we lift up our voices and say:

The second was Sing Hallelujah to the Lord, which has so much repetition that I’m not going to include the lyrics.

And, for those who don’t understand the title of this post, it is not a boring group at all. Dead Boring is the name of the group, and has been for some 20-25 years. The mother who started the group told her son that she was starting a writing group, and he responded, “Oh, that’ll be dead boring.” She said, “Yes, it will!” and the name was born.

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August 2017 Pictures

The kitchen table broke one day, so Simon and Mr. Diligence fixed it for us. I’m sure glad Mr. Diligence has learned to fix things, too, since Simon is no longer here!

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Princess likes to try out all sorts of new places to sleep in.

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She also wants in the house all the time. She can walk along the ledge outside the living room window, and she begs to come in that way.

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Her favorite place to spend the day is on top of our refrigerator in the laundry room. One day, she was rolling around trying to get attention from the boys and fell off!

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Mr. Imagination making toast for his breakfast on top the stove.

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Little Miss showing off her ponytails.

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A dear friend sent these flowers to me! I was bringing the cow home one evening when a truck turned onto our road. I kept the cow off the road, and wasn’t paying much attention to the truck, but it went slower and slower so I finally looked. The driver, a man who had been a neighbor at one house we lived in, was holding out these flowers to me! So beautiful. Thank you, dear friend!

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One Sunday at church, a girl who loves Little Miss decorated her with these pansies, so I asked the girl if she would take some pictures for me.

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These are place we frequently find the cats. Bandit wants a soft, warm spot. Princess wants to be on something, and the computer, when it’s open, is a favorite. If I close it she’ll find some other place. She loves to curl up on a sheet of paper!

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Our beef cattle. The two black ones will soon be going to the works. The white one was our calf last year.

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Product Review—Let’s Go Geography

I’ve always felt like geography was the weakest subject in our homeschooling. I’ve tried various ways of incorporating map work into our school days, but everything I tried was hated. Finally, I just hung a world map from the bulletin board beside the chair I sit in to read aloud, and when I think of it I’ll point out the location of the story we’re reading. When Let’s Go Geography came available for review, I decided it looked like something we could really use. Because it was described as being good for approximately grades K-4, I decided to have Mr. Sweetie and Mr. Imagination use it. No one older wanted to, anyway. Let's Go Geography

Each week, we get to study a different country. The first two weeks were actually regions of the United States, first the Northeastern States, and then Hawaii. After that, we spent a few days with Canada, and then Haiti and Nicaragua. We’re going to Belize on our next adventure. My little boys are loving this course! Especially, Mr. Imagination cheers when I say it’s time for geography. A few days ago, we were reading a biography in the evening and it mentioned that the person had gone to Hawaii. I didn’t even know Mr. Imagination was listening, but he got quite excited and pointed to Hawaii on the world map, telling everyone that we had studied it! That was fun to see. And just look at the list of places we get to “go” in the future! (Do you see what the last one for Year 1 is?) Let's Go Geography

Each lesson has a lot of variety. It’s set up so you can spend five days per lesson, so one section of the lesson each day of the week. We ended up doing each lesson in only 2-3 days, and skipping a few days each week. It’s just hard to fit something like that in every single day. We did the map work and colored, cut out and glued the flags one day. Another day, we listened to the national anthem from the country and watched the YouTube videos linked to in the lesson, and then each boy dictated to me what he remembered about the country and I wrote it on a notebooking page for him. Sometime later, either that day or another day, they each colored a picture of something from the country. Little Miss always had to have a coloring page, too, and she usually wanted a map to scribble on as well! There are crafts given for each lesson, but we never did any of them. They would have been fun, but we didn’t have the needed supplies on hand. It’s not that they are hard to find, but just things that we don’t keep, such as white and red plastic disposable cups to make into a lighthouse, or paper lunch bags to make into a puppet. I keep hoping we’ll come across a craft that we have the supplies for. 19-IMG_3249

Built into the year’s study of geography are three review lessons, one after each two continents have been studied. This review lesson looks like fun! I know my boys are going to love matching flags with the correct countries, and we’ll spend some time learning about latitude and longitude as part of the first review lesson. There are also some pages to match pictures with the country in which they were taken.

Here is Mr. Sweetie with some of his pages.

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And this is Mr. Imagination, with some of his pages!

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We’re saving all our pages, and at the end of the year I’m planning to have someone drill holes in them so I can sew the books together. Then, each of the boys will have his own book of world geography. When years 2 and 3 are available, I will probably buy them; this is a program we have really enjoyed. All you need to use it is an internet connection and a printer! I am trying to get a few books from the library with more pictures of the countries we’re studying, but our local libraries are pretty small. This is when we’re glad for YouTube and someone who has taken the time to find links for us! Let’s Go Geography {Reviews} Crew Disclaimer

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School Days

We spend a lot of time at the kitchen table in the mornings, doing lessons.

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The day Mr. Sweetie learned about borrowing when subtracting, we got out the Base 10 blocks to illustrate what was happening. As soon as I was done with them, Mr. Imagination and Little Miss started playing with them—no wonder I sometimes have trouble finding all the pieces I need!

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Mr. Intellectual loves building towers with the blocks, then taking a video of the tower collapsing.

Mr. Diligence is required to spend some time reading something—whatever he wants to—every morning. He’s been reading the Circle C books lately, and really enjoying them. He read the entire Circle C Beginnings series, and now he’s reading the two Circle C Steppingstones books that have been published.

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Mr. Imagination isn’t officially doing school yet. He’s quite capable, but he doesn’t want to most of the time. He’s just 5, so I’m not pushing yet—but some days he does things like this! He wrote the numbers to 28, just for fun.

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Little Miss spent a lot of time one morning sorting this tiny animals by color. Sometimes she sorts them by kind of animal, or just stands them up. They came inside a Mancala game someone bought at a secondhand shop, and they have been played with a lot more than the game!

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Spring!

Spring is here! Some days sure don’t feel like it, but more days are warm than a month ago, and the grass is growing.

The first garden work was done in mid-August. Simon took the rotary hoe (rototiller) through part of the garden, after I showed him what needed done. It broke after he got some done, though, so he tore it apart and took one part to a local man to get a replacement shaft made. We picked up the finished piece the day I took Simon to Christchurch to get his Learner’s Licence; that night, Simon and Mr. Diligence stayed up till midnight putting the rotary hoe back together. He felt like he had to do it because he was leaving home a couple of days later and wouldn’t have another chance!

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This is the lemon tree right outside my kitchen window. So beautiful!

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Esther babysat the day I took Simon to Christchurch. She sent the boys outside for a break at one point during school. They started wrestling, and Little Miss was telling them to stop!

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When it didn’t work to order them to stop, she tried to manually separate them!

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Solar System

We are working our way through Exploring Creation with Astronomy this year, and a few weeks ago we laid out a scale model of distances in the solar system. We were all blown away by the vastness of our solar system!homeschool-curriculum

We followed the directions on this page, but instead of merely putting slips of paper on the ground we taped them to fence posts. That made them easier to see.14-IMG_3234

We started at the edge of our yard by the paddock and headed toward the road at first. When we got to the road before we got to Neptune, we realized we had to go the other direction! So, we started over again at the hedge by the road. This first picture shows the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Jupiter is in the creek.

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Here is Saturn, and the boys are heading to where Uranus should be.

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Looking back from Uranus to the sun—see those tiny white spots between the house and the bush, right in front of the hedge? Assuming the sun is the size of a dime, these are the distances!

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Now, the boys are at the Kuiper Belt (I’m assuming that’s where Pluto is; it’s no longer considered a planet, but we haven’t gotten to the chapter about that area yet.) Can you see my boys? They are barely visible in front of that shed, past the fence and the bathtub. I took this picture from Uranus.

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I couldn’t believe these distances! So incredible. Then, a day or two later, we came across a video we had watched before, but it was well worth watching again, about the size of the solar system. Watch this and see how someone else portrayed it.

To Scale: The Solar System from Wylie Overstreet on Vimeo.

We also came across this video, the day we started the chapter on Saturn. My boys found it fascinating!

One thing I’m getting from this study is how amazing our God is! The planets are just incredible. So different from each other, and so incredible. I really appreciated the chapter on Earth, which showed so many ways our planet is perfectly suited for life—but none of the others are. The vast distances in space are awe-inspiring, too; if God’s creation is so vast—what about Him?

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