Monday, June 29, 2009

Our Last Port

We docked at Ketchikan today, known as the salmon capital of the world. We watched a funny lumberjack show, and had a wonderful seafood meal prepared by an Alaskan chef. Tommorrow will be spent at sea, heading toward Vancouver B.C.

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Relaxing Day

We had planned on hiking the Chilcoot Trail today, but changed our minds upon discovering that it required hiking boots for 2 miles of steep and narrow terrain. We hadn't come prepared for that! The town of Skagway is a quaint gold rush town in the Yukon Territory with it's own quilt shop--what more could I ask for? Tonight we get to eat at our ship's steakhouse, which sounds great, although I admit I'd love to be going to church with my kiddos instead! Here's some pics:

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Juneau & Glaciers & Dog Sledding--oh my!

Today we are docked at the lovely capital city of Juneau. Not only did we explore the town a bit, but we also had the incredible opportunity to ride in a helicopter over some amazing landscape, land on a glacier, and try our hands at a bit of dogsledding. It was really amazing--may very well end up being the highlight of our trip.

Oh, and this flower made me think of my girls: (love and miss you all!)

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bald Eagles & Alaskan Rainforest

We went to the Raptor Center in Sitka and saw many bald eagles--both in the refuge and out. We walked through am Alaskan rainforest and saw many totem poles and other native artifacts. We've now arrived in Juneau, and although it is raining I hope to have some good pictures to post this evening.

-- Post From My iPhone

A couple more

Let's try this again...some more pics.

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Off We Go!

I'm going to attempt to blog our Alaskan Cruise from my iPhone! We were off before 6am, with around 4 hours of sleep to work from.

It was definitely a 3 shot morning.

This is what it's like to travel with Chris: :)

Some dead animals in the Anchorage airport:

Our next mode of transportation:

Our fellow passengers:

Ooo! Something that says Alaska IN Alaska!

And 3 hours later, we get to Seward and the ship:


More Seward:

Our Stateroom:

Hopefully more tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mr. History

Andrew, my 10 year-old, is a self-avowed lover of history. It is his favorite subject. He also loves to read. Literature based history curricula are right up his alley. This year, for his 4th grade year, we used WinterPromise American Story 2 (designed for grades 2-4) in conjunction with Sonlight Core 4 (recommended for grades 4-7). Apart from our history lessons, we also had daily read-alouds and readers, typically relating to our history studies.

We read 7 of 9 scheduled WinterPromise read-alouds, 6 of 14 scheduled Sonlight read-alouds, as well as an additional 5 books--making a total of 18 books read aloud this year for school. Andrew read 13 of Sonlight's 20 readers, as well as an additional 5 books--making a total of 18 books he read to himself this year (not counting free reading).

Today, in my planning for next year, I asked Andrew some questions. I'm trying to figure out if I need to add some of Sonlight Core 6 into our WinterPromise: Quest for the Ancient World studies next year. His answers were fun to hear, so I thought I'd share.

1. Were the books that you were assigned to read too easy, too dificult, just right, or a mix? A mix. Some were easy, some were just right, and one or two were a little hard.

2. Did you like the style of the books you read, or would you have wanted some different kinds of books? I'd say the books were pretty much exactly my style.

3. Do you think you were assigned too many, too few, or just the right number of books? Too few!

I guess that answers my question! Poor me, I have to place an order with Sonlight. :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

My kids are Funny!

My kids were watching a cartoon on tv just now, and 2 of the characters were arguing. I made the comment:

"Those kids are mad!"

Andrew responded "Yeah."

I continued, "They are just angry, bitter people!"

Melinda says, "Yeah, I think they might be teenagers."

(cue drum and cymbals)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Creating a Reader

I posted this over on the Sonlight Forums, but thought I'd post a copy here as well. Melinda has made such amazing progress in reading this year, and I'm deeply thankful. I'm thankful for Sonlight, who not only put together good reading packages, but provides a wonderful community through their forums--from which I've gained a tremendous amount of wisdom. I'm thankful that God laid it on my heart to homeschool, and worked everything out in His perfect timing. I'm thankful that God has helped me grow so much this year, and that He saw my heart's desire for Melinda to experience the joy of reading (not just the duty). Here is the story:

This last year was the first year I've homeschooled all 4 of my children.

Last spring and summer, my (then) 7yo dd came up with her personal mantra that she would adamantly declare multiple times a day: I hate reading!

So as soon as we'd decided to homeschool, and I reclaimed responsibility for her education, we backed up in the instruction. Totally took off the pressure for reading level and expectations. She was required to read every day, but at very easy levels. We started with SL Fun Tales, and then went through all the easy readers I could get my hands on. Meanwhile, she continued to tell everyone she met: I hate reading!

We began nightly read-alouds, and when school started in the fall, she continued on with SL Readers 1 and 2. Slowly, the mantra faded away. She started reading the Beginner's Bible by herself, without telling me--I only found out when she announced that she'd read the entire Old Testament. We were all so proud of her, and when questioned, she said: I guess reading isn't so bad.

When we moved up to SL Readers 2 Intermediate, I was surprised to see that she made the transition to longer books without complaint. I started noticing that Reading was always the first thing she completed in the morning. Today, now that our school year is officially finished, I asked what her favorite subject was. She said, Reading is the best!

Yesterday afternoon I told her that if she reads 8 books this summer, she will get a free book of her choice. She's already on book #2!

I'm so thrilled. This year has changed my daughter's life--in more ways than just this, but this is a tangible example of her growth. I'm humbled and honored by this thing called Motherhood, by the blessings God has given me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Baby Turns 5

Happy 5th Birthday, Audrey! You are such a big girl, and always ready to help. You've been looking forward to turning 5 for a long time, and on Sunday June 7th it finally happened! Now you can relax a bit--don't worry about growing so fast--you made it! You do such a great job doing your school work just like the big kids, you can swim by yourself and carry in the groceries (even the really heavy ones!). Growing can be hard work, so if you ever get the urge to just cuddle in and stop working for 15 seconds, go ahead. Be patient with all of us as we learn that you are not the baby any longer, as we learn to let you do things by yourself, and even accept your help when you offer. Thank you for entertaining us with your original songs, and your love of horses. Thank you for encouraging us with your faith in God. May you have a wonderful year!