Wednesday, June 18, 2014

MDA Pictures

Here are some photos I snagged off of the MDA Green Bay Facebook page:

Emma & Abbie (her counselor)

I think they made posters to decorate their cabins the first night.

The girl in the blue shirt is Savannah.  That whole row is Dragonfly Cabin.
You can't see Emma very well, but she's holding a stuffed animal cat on her lap.

Decorating old records?
This is Emma, Abbie, and possibly Abbie's brother.  She said that her brother was counseling too, but I didn't get the chance to meet him.

Wednesday was Firefighters Day.  So, everyone wore red, and some real firefighters came with a truck.  The campers all had a parade (I think) with each cabin devising a theme. 

I'm not exactly sure what the theme was for Emma's cabin.

But this one was pretty cool!

Monday, June 16, 2014

MDA Camp

I dropped Emma off yesterday at MDA camp.  It's already weird without her home.  We usually talk for a little while in her room before she goes to bed, and we didn't do that last night.  I miss her.

They do a really nice job of welcoming the kids and getting them registered.

Each of the counselors writes some kind of a welcome message to their camper on the sidewalk outside of the main building.  (Each camper gets their own personal counselor at MDA camp.  Lots of these kids have specialized equipment or need help with everyday things, so this way works best.  Some kids even have two counselors.)

Emma has a new counselor this year: Abbie.  Her favorite counselor (Kate) was unable to come again this year, but I have a good feeling about Abbie.  The thing is, she's only a year older than Emma!  This is Abbie's first year helping out, and they usually pair a new counselor with a veteran camper.  (Likewise, new campers get a veteran counselor.)  So that's why they're so close in age.  I'm praying that it won't be awkward, and that they'll just end up being good friends.  Emma doesn't need as much help as most of the other kids, so I think it'll work out that way.

Also, Emma's friend, Savannah,  pulled into the parking lot at the same time we did.  Savannah is in her cabin (yay!), and Abbie told me that she and Savannah's counselor are friends.  I'm imagining that the four of them will just buddy around all week long.  It should be a good time.

The cabin is shaped like a T, and Emma's bunk is in the vertical part of the T by the back door.  Abbie's bed is just across it--on Emma's right in this picture.  Dragonfly is one of the older cabins, but it's still pretty nice.  Besides Savannah and her counselor, there will be one other camper/counselor set in this cabin, but we didn't meet them.  (I meant to get a shot of Savannah & Emma, but Savannah was still busy getting settled.)

After leaving Emma & Abbie, the kids and I went back to the main building to write letters to Emma.  (That's new this year.  Great idea!)  You can choose which day you want for them to receive it.  She'll get it today.  Dave mailed her a letter on Saturday, and we'll mail another one today.

Anyway, while we were writing the letters, one of the staff guys was putting up this poster:

One thing the counselors need to watch for in their campers is constipation.  Fun, eh?  Since this can be embarrassing for the campers, the staff takes a light-hearted approach, as you can see.

Edited to add: 
They put up pictures every day on Facebook.  If you like "MDA Green Bay", then you can see what they're up to each day.

Like I said, they really do a good job.  = )

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Today I drove Emma down to MDA camp.  We took some back roads this time since there were sections of road construction along our regular route.  As I passed by a small country cemetery on my left, a maroon sedan coming from the other direction was pulling into it.

"I bet they're putting flowers on their dad's grave, " I said to myself.  "I can't even do that because the grave is too far away."

I cried silently for a few minutes behind my sunglasses.

I miss him.  So much.  I'm blessed to have had him as long as I did, though.  (I was 31 when he died.)  And I'm so thankful that he and my mom worked on their marriage.  Dave and I have been married for 20 years now (yes, I was a child bride), so I know--and Dave especially knows--how hard marriage can be.  And how wonderful it can be, too.

Anyway, I'm deeply grateful that my parents worked at their relationship so I could have my dad in my life in a consistent way.  I saw several of my friends' lives, whose parents were divorced (or at best, their dads were apathetic), and they didn't have great relationships with their fathers.  And you know what?  It showed.  These friends of mine made poor, foolish choices.

I still see it today.  And it breaks my heart.

I can't thank God enough for Dave!  Yes, he's a great provider and all of that, but more importantly...he's available.  He's available to me, to the kids, and to the Lord.  I really love that guy.  I hope my kids realize how good they've got it.

Well, I'm just going to tell them how good they've got it.

The following is a quote from Dr. James Dobson's book Bringing Up Boys.  I think I've shared this before, but it's profound, so bear with me if it's familiar.

"Some years ago, executives of a greeting-card company decided to do something special for Mother's Day. They set up a table in a federal prison, inviting any inmate who so desired to send a free card to his mom. The lines were so long they had to make another trip to the factory to get more cards. Due to the success of the event, they decided to do the same thing on Father's Day, but this time no one came. Not one prisoner felt the need to send a card to his dad. Many had no idea who their dads even were. What a sobering illustration of a father's importance to his children."

My theory is that when a child has a father (or father figure) whom they respect, then that translates more easily into a respect for other authorities, such as: teachers, police officers, the law in general, and God.

Can I just say that I'm really glad I'm not a father?  That's a lot of pressure.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lydia's Dance Recital

I only have a few minutes before I need to start supper, so this is one picture and two videos.

Click to enlarge.
Here's Lydia in her ballet dress.  (I wish I had one like it.)
I'm going to find a pretty white shirt she can wear underneath it for church.

Ballet ~ "Just Like Abraham"
I was able to grab a front row seat, but I wasn't centered (obviously).
If the video doesn't work, then try this link:

Tap ~ "God's Not Dead"
I wish I'd gotten a picture of Lydia in this costume, but the shirt and vest were borrowed from one of the other girl's brother.  I altered Lydia's pants into these knickers, as well as the knickers of the girl behind her (also named Lydia).
Again, if the video doesn't work, then try this link:

(I have the videos as "Unlisted" to protect the other girls' privacy, so you might need the link instead of simply clicking on the embedded video.)

We are so, SO blessed to have the dance teacher we do.  Lindsey is a strong Christian and homeschool graduate.  Her costumes are always modest--and so is the choreography.  The music they dance to is always either Christian or classical.  Plus, she doesn't charge very much at all.  Don't tell her this, but I'd pay through the nose to keep Lindsey as Lydia's dance teacher.  

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Curriculum for 2014-2015

Okay, so this is the tentative plan for our next school year.

The one thing I'm not sure about yet is history for Jeffrey, Lydia, and Samuel.  I'm pretty set on the medieval/renaissance time period since Jeffrey just finished reading about the Fall of Rome.  I really like what I see with BiblioPlan.  I hadn't ever explored it before, but it looks a lot like Sonlight or Tapestry of Grace--only not as intense and more flexible.

I can also use BP for any grade.  They have four different levels of activity packs.  Sam would do Cool History for Littles.  Lydia would do Cool History for Middles, and Jeffrey would do Cool History for Advanced.  (They also have an Upper Middles set.)  The title "Cool History" is a little hokey, but what's inside looks good, so I'm willing to overlook it.  There are also map and timeline packs.  The downside?  $$$  While it's not nearly as expensive as Sonlight or TOG, it'd still be about $200 to get everything I want to cover the three age groups.  (Emma's One Year Adventure Novel costs even more.)  Emma's really interested in Biblical Archaeology.  We already own two of the books she'll need for the course, so it won't cost much more to get the rest.  Otherwise, she could do BiblioPlan, too.

I'm getting ready to sell some used curriculum on Amazon again (I made about $400 last summer).  Hopefully that will bring in enough money for me to get BiblioPlan & OYAN.  My second choice for history is Mystery of History, which doesn't look as thorough at the high school level.  I'd have to work harder to supplement, but it only costs about $40 for the basic book.  BP is very open-and-go, except for deciding which literature suggestions we would do.  Everything is all laid out otherwise.

Oh, and for foreign language, we're going to end up doing two years of French in three years.  So we'll start French 2 after Christmas break.

Here are the details:

Emma ~ 11th Grade
Bible ~ New Testament Survey (C. MacDonald); Read through the entire NT;
            More Than a Carpenter (Josh McDowell); Scripture memory
Math ~ Math-U-See Algebra 2
Science ~ Apologia Chemistry
English ~ The One Year Adventure Novel; Vocab from Classical Roots C & D
History ~ Biblical Archaeology; Current Events ~ Trak Magazine
Foreign Language ~ BJUP French 1 (finish) and French 2 (start)
We'll do some swimming & physical therapy exercises for a half credit in P.E., and she might be in the homeschool musical next year.  (She took this year off.)  That would give her another half credit in Drama.  She's most excited about The One Year Adventure Novel.  We got the sample DVD--which is quite informative--and it looks fanTAStic.  And it had better be.  It's also quite expensive.  Since she wants to be an author, though, I figure it's a good investment.  Besides the cost, I haven't read a bad thing about it when I scoured the web for reviews.

Jeffrey ~ 9th Grade
Bible ~ Same as Emma
Math ~ Same as Emma
ScienceSurvey of Astronomy
English ~ WriteShop I; Vocabulary from Classical Roots C & D
               The history program below offers his literature.
History ~ BiblioPlan Year 2 (Medieval);
               Current Events ~ Same as Emma
Foreign Language ~ Same as Emma
He'll also do swimming.  Our rec center offers a Lifeguard Readiness program for kids who aren't old enough for the Lifeguard Class yet.  I doubt that Jeffrey will ever be in the cast for the musical, but he did help out in the light booth this year, so maybe he'll do something like that again.  It won't count for any kind of credit, but I'll mark it down for his volunteer hours.

Lydia ~ 4th Grade
Bible ~ Read through Gospels & Acts; Awana
Math ~ Math-U-See Delta
ScienceGod's Design for Heaven & Earth (Answers in Genesis)
Lang Arts ~ Simply Grammar; Building Spelling Skills (CLP);
                  Student Writing Intensive Level A with
                  Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales woven in ~ Both from IEW
                  Literature is built into history.
History ~ BiblioPlan; Current EventsNews Flash Magazine
I'm still figuring out art & music, though I think she'll continue with piano.  I'm pretty confident she'll be in the homeschool musical again and take dance lessons.  We'll likely get some swimming lessons in there, too.  It's such a good life skill to have--and great exercise.  I might have her do a typing course too.

Samuel ~ 1st grade
Bible ~ Same as Lydia
Math ~ Math-U-See Alpha
Science ~ Same as Lydia
Language Arts ~ Sonlight LA 1 with Explode the Code & A Reason for
                           Handwriting A; Literature is built into history.
History ~ Same as Lydia
Again, I'm still thinking about art/music.  He's undecided about the musical for next year, but it's early yet.  I'd really like for him to do swimming lessons--especially since we live on a lake all summer.  If he has any interest in piano, I'll just teach him myself.

Whew!  It's going to be a fun, full year!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Wrapping Up the School Year

We're sort of "winding down" versus "wrapping up" school for the year.  We got behind (more-than-usual behind) with Anne of Green Gables being the beast that it was.  So, we're not done yet, but we should finish this school year before we have to start the new one in the fall.  *wink*

We'll need to continue French and composition throughout the summer weeks (Emma & Jeffrey).  We've still got a few weeks of Geometry left, too.  Lydia & Sam each have some math to finish up as well.  Everything else is either done or will be done by next Friday.

Emma goes to MDA camp from the 15th to the 20th, so we won't do any school for that week.  Instead, we are going to PURGE a ton of stuff from this house.  And maybe do some painting (not canvas painting, but the wall kind).  I haven't decided yet if we'll have a rummage sale, or just dump donate all of the stuff at Goodwill.  One one hand, I could use the money to pay for next year's curriculum.  On the other hand, rummage sales are a lot of work.

Last night was our homeschool group's high school graduation ceremony.  It was really nice!  There were four graduates, and each one had the opportunity to share some kind of talent (singing, recitation, etc.).  The parents were able to say a few words as they handed their graduate a diploma.  And then the grads each said a few words (favorite memories, future plans, thanking their parents).   All four of them were in the musical this past year, and they each shared fond memories about that.  It made me a little verklempt.

All of the homeschooled undergrads (any age) sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".  We use it as a final warm-up for musical rehearsal, so most of the kids already knew it.  It has a lovely descant that goes pretty high.  They just went up there cold and belted it out last night, though.  Not too shabby.  It's a little pitchy in spots, but I love the chord on the last note.  I love these kids.  My kids.

Lydia is in the 2nd row from the front--in a brown shirt.


Lydia's dance recital is tomorrow, so we've got to get to an extra rehearsal right now.  I still need to write about the homeschool conference I attended, curriculum choices for next year, and more!