Back home in time for Advent!

So, I mentioned in my previous post that we were on a visit to Seth’s parents. We’re back now, but we ended up staying about two weeks for a pretty awesome visit!

One new thing we tried was leaving at a different time of day. Usually when we visit my parents, we leave around dinnertime and arrive in the wee morning hours. That way the kids sleep for most of the drive. However, Seth’s parents didn’t want us arriving during the night. So we switched up, and instead we left a little after 3am, planning to arrive around noon. We ended up making fantastic time and arrived around 10:30 or so.

Seth’s parents have a pretty small two-bedroom apartment, so we were a little concerned about how well it would work, adding in an additional 6 people (including a newborn) into such a small place. But Seth’s mom is something of an organizational genius, and she made it work. She said she looked upon it as an engineering challenge. 🙂 So, his parents gave us their bedroom, and they fixed up the closet so that Megan could sleep in a laundry basket on the floor. Then I could close the closet door and give her a little bit of a noise buffer (not a lot, as the front of the door is slotted and it doesn’t close all the way, but at least a little). The girls all shared a bed made up of piles of blankets on the floor of my FIL’s office. And my in-laws moved downstairs and slept in the living room, on the couch and an air mattress. They wake very early in the morning, so it worked best to have Seth and I retire upstairs when they were ready to go to bed, and then they didn’t disturb us in the morning. Seth’s mom also brought up a little table to act as a changing table, and fixed up a ton of little baskets and bins and emptied some drawers so that we could put things away, so we really fit quite well. We had a great time with them, too. I even got a few days of school done (although really just a few).

One new thing we’re doing this month is something called, “The Truth in the Tinsel.” It’s an Advent program that gets kids excited about Jesus’ birth by having a little lesson/activity each day in December. Each day, you have a reading from the Bible during which kids listen for a specific word or concept, a lesson, and a craft. For instance, today we read Isaiah 9:2-7, part of the prophecy about Jesus and the establishment of a forever kingdom, and then we made little crowns and read about Jesus as a descendant of David and how he would be king of justice and peace forever. The crafts you make are Christmas ornaments, so you can decorate your tree with reminders of what Christmas is really about. I love the idea. We’re a little behind because we didn’t start until we got back home (I didn’t have my craft supplies at my in-law’s and it would have taken a lot of extra money to buy duplicates of items I had at home just so we could start on time). I think we’ll do two crafts a day on occasion until we catch up.

We actually did yesterday’s craft, making a little candle silhouette, during gymnastics. Emily and Jenny both take gymnastics, and their classes are on the same night but overlap by only 15 minutes. Which means that we’re there for almost 2 hours. Ugh. Least favorite night of the week, let me tell you! But between needing to go grocery shopping that morning (as we’d just returned Monday and the fridge was empty) and then needing to practice violin before gymnastics, we ran out of time to do that day’s Advent craft. So I brought along craft supplies to gymnastics, and we used a little empty table there and did the lesson and craft. We had two little girls who were also waiting for siblings join us. Good thing I thought that might happen and packed extra scissors and glue sticks.

I’m really excited about getting to the countries in our geography program. Right now we’re in the middle of the first three weeks of “introduction to geography,” where we read the parts of “A Child’s Introduction to the World” about geography and mapping and such, and the parts of “A Life Like Mine” that talk about the general needs/desires of children and how they are fulfilled (or not fulfilled) in different countries around the world. It’s not really incredibly fun, but I think that particularly the parts in CIttW provide a useful basis for looking at geography that I do want to preserve.

But I am getting all excited about getting to Native America! I threw it in there during our section o North America because we won’t hit it in a Sonlight core for a while and I thought it would be fun, plus we have a lot of stories from Native America. So that will be our first “country,” so to speak. We have “The Very First Americans” to give a good nonfiction basis to our study, lots of missionary stories, and “The Girl Who Helped Thunder” to provide a lot of the fiction stories. I really like the layout of GWHT, as it groups the stories by area (Northeast, Southeast, etc.) and then also lists which tribe each story comes from. And the illustrations look like Native American artifacts, so they lend a nice verisimilitude. We have a bunch of other stories, a few profiles of modern Native American children, and some extra books on the Eskimos.

We also have some fun activities to look forward to. We’ll be putting together a simple 3D paper longhouse, making a pueblo out of clay, making a teepee cake and a picture of teepees, creating an igloo out of sugar cubes, and making succotash and cornbread. So lots of excitement! I’ll really have to try to take pictures. I might try to take some of our Advent crafts as well, just for fun.

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