Twenty Seconds of Completely Unnecessary Panic.

09.9.2013 | 2:08 pm | Uncategorized

I’m not trying to debate vaccines or push my opinions on anyone (that is soooo new-mother-ish! ;-)), but for the sake of understanding this silly story, here’s a quick background:

We’re a selective and delayed-vaxing family. After much careful research, we chose to skip vaxes that aren’t crucial for babies who aren’t in daycare: Hib, Prevnar, rotavirus, etc.; as well as the (*coughcough*asinine) chickenpox vax. But we did choose do give the (IMO) crucial vaxes, for diseases that are either a real risk (whooping cough, anyone?), and/or very dangerous: DTaP, MMR, and Polio. Based on my research, I don’t consider measles particularly dangerous for children, but it does have potentially serious risks, and it’s also out there…and I don’t want to be part of its resurgence by not vaccinating.

However, for the MMR vaccine, because of all the controversy & risks associated with giving babies three live viruses all at once, I chose to delay it. We delayed it quite a bit, actually: Desmond just got his very first dose of MMR last week, and he’s just about to turn 6 (his 6th birthday is next Wednesday, to be exact). I actually didn’t intend to delay it this long. My plan was to give it just after his 4th birthday—sparing the risks associated with giving three live viruses to a still-developing baby, as well as eliminating the need for a booster until college age—but since I got sick right about that time, it kind of got pushed aside while we were trying to cope with dealing with my situation.

Now that things are at least somewhat under control with me (not that I’m not still very sick; unfortunately, I am. But I’ve learned to cope with the symptoms to the degree that, most days, we can focus on other things), we wanted to get him in to have his MMR shot.

So, Philip took little Des in to the health department last week. The whole thing was uneventful, as it usually is for him. He’s a tough little guy, and never cries for shots. He just purses his lips and takes ‘em like a man. He always has! The vaccine nurse at the health department is really sweet. She’s always remembered us and our boys when we come in. She always gives a sticker or small toy, and even though Gray wasn’t with them that day, she told Des to pick a sticker to bring home to him.

After the shot, Philip stopped at a convenience store and let Des pick out his choice of treat, for being such a trooper. Des took forever to choose something, but finally settled on “Fun Dip”, which is today’s version of the old “Lik-M-Aid”. It’s basically sweetened kool-aid type powder that you eat by licking a candy stick and dipping it into the powder, licking it off, and so on. The powder is blue, and it stains the tongue and mouth blue. He had some of it when he got home, and saved the rest for later.

Then, at around sunset, we all went out for our evening walk—something I’m so grateful to be able to do now, after spending over a year bedridden and unable to walk outdoors. I’m slow, and I feel horrible while walking & for a while afterwards, but I can do it, praise God! It’s a thousand times better than being stuck on the couch staring miserably out the window every evening, wishing I could just go outside and walk (yeah, that’s what I did all last year).

Back to the MMR shot, and its risks. I’ve dreaded him getting this one for a long time, again, due to the controversy and the higher risk of potential side effects. So I was watching him closely that day for any sign of reaction (with this one, adverse side effects are actually most common around a week after the shot, so I’m still watching him). Mind you, I wasn’t expecting a reaction, but was simply watching him in the unlikely event there was one.

So we had walked halfway around the block, where there’s a site where some land was recently cleared. Des likes to veer off into the newly-tilled ground there on our walks each night; apparently it’s great fun to run and jump on all the deep tractor tire ridges. He ran around like a wild man for a few minutes, and then we went on our way down the road. He came running up to us, out of breath from his exertion.

He said something to me, barely understandable because of his heavy breathing, and I looked down at him. I was horrified to notice that his lips were blue! Immediately, my mind went to that day’s vaccination, and I thought, “Blue lips! Oh my word, something’s wrong!”

PHILIP!” I cried, “His lips are blue!

Philip looked down at him and said with a chuckle, “Yeah, they sure are!”

Philip never panics. Never. Nothing shakes him. Clearly he was not grasping how serious this was.

“It’s from the shot today!”, I insisted, “Philip, he’s not breathing right…look, he’s gasping for breath! And HIS LIPS ARE BLUE!

Philip looked at me like I was crazy and said, “He’s out of breath because he was just running around like a fool. And of course his lips are blue. That’s from his Lik-M-Aid powder. He had some after dinner, just before we left.”

So now he tells me.

Panic averted.

On Becoming a Mother

08.6.2013 | 12:55 pm | Uncategorized

I read a piece today on mothering, and how difficult (understatement!) it is to find your way when you first become a mother— I experienced this shocking blow not just the first time around, but also the second time. Perhaps even moreso after my second was born, because of how utterly overwhelming it was to tend to an infant while also trying to be there for his older brother. I remember months’ worth of days where I was so exhausted, I could barely see straight.

Anyway, one of the things she said was absolutely perfect for describing those exhausting, sometimes brutal months and years spent mothering new babies and young children:

“It is overwhelming and completely exhausting, and figuring it all out is some of the most physically, mentally, emotionally, and heart-wrenching work you will ever do.”

Hear, hear!

How to Remove Latex Paint from Carpet

04.12.2013 | 7:27 pm | Uncategorized

I’ll save you the story of how I spilled dark brown paint on our light beige carpet, and get right to sharing how we successfully removed it, despite how bleak things looked when we first stared in horror at the ugly, dark splatter on our living room carpet.

Yes, we got it cleaned up completely, with no trace of paint or stain left behind. And amazingly, it was rather quick and easy! But the key to success is: Work quickly. If you let the paint dry, there’s not much hope that I know of.

First, take an old towel and use it to blot up the excess paint. Do not rub. Just press and blot, and turn the towel frequently. Get another towel if the first one gets soaked with paint quickly. Philip used his foot and put his weight on it.

Next, soak the stain with water. We put a drop of dish soap in a big cup, filled it with hot water, and then poured the soapy water directly onto the stained carpet until it was thoroughly soaked. Then we let it sit there while Philip called our neighbor, asked if we could borrow his wet/dry shop vac, and went over to get it. It took about ten minutes for him to make the call, go down to our neighbor’s house, and get back with the shop vac.

With the shop vac, suck up all that soapy water. This was the amazing step. The paint came right up with the water. After the first round of vacuuming, almost all the stain was gone from the carpet. There was just a hint of dark stain remaining.

Repeat, this time using a scrub brush with the soapy water. We poured another big cup of dish-soapy hot water onto the remaining hint of a stain, and this time, Philip used a scrub brush to work it into the fibers and gently “scrub” the carpet. Then he vacuumed up all the water again. The stain was almost completely gone. In fact, no one would ever know at that point that there had been a spill there, so it probably was completely gone.

But the perfectionist in me — if I stared at it in just the right light, at a particular angle — could see what might have been a hint of a dark stain left behind. So I added another step, which probably isn’t necessary, but was basically harmless as well as easy, so, why not?

(Optional Perfectionist Steps) Pour rubbing alcohol onto the scrub brush and gently scrub the carpet. Don’t pour alcohol directly onto the carpet! This can harm the backing, or cause some such problem— although I’ve used rubbing alcohol on other stains (ink, nail polish…yes, we’re a very destructive lot when it comes to spilling horrible liquids on carpet!), with no harm to the carpet that was worse than the stain itself. All I know is, rubbing alcohol dissolves latex paint. (In fact, a little trick to use if you move into a previously-owned house and want to know if paint on a wall is latex or oil-based, is to put rubbing alcohol on a rag and rub the wall. If paint comes off on your rag, it’s latex. If not, then it’s oil-based.)

After the rubbing alcohol scrub, there was absolutely no trace of paint left in the carpet at all! We did an extra rinse or two to make sure the alcohol was washed away completely, and then a final vacuum with the shop vac to remove as much water as possible.

The carpet now looks better in that spot than everywhere else in the room. Now I need my entire living room carpet cleaned to match the clean spot! ;-)

A New Thing

02.22.2013 | 8:26 pm | Uncategorized

I’ve been out of pocket for quite a while now. I’ve been sick for a year, and as I wait for healing, I’m going to kind of take the blog in a different direction. Because I’ve turned to a completely different direction in my life, and I need to sort it out. I’m not sure yet how I’ll do it…I’m considering maybe doing a separate blog, one that addresses the topic at hand and doesn’t interfere with my sporadic chronicling of our homeschooling endeavors.

So much within me has changed this past year, since I got sick. I mean big, fundamental changes, the likes of which I’ve not seen since I became a mother (you know how becoming a mom completely re-makes you as a person? And at first it’s quite distressing and very scary? Yeah. Same with this). During these last 12 months, I feel like God has completely taken me apart and has been putting me back together, one piece at a time— exactly the way he wants me to be. Which happens to be pretty much 180 degrees from the person I was on the day I became sick.

Simply put, I was a bad person, through and through, and no one, not even the Lord himself, had been able to get through my selfishness and change my heart. I was reckless and foolish, had spiraled down into the lowest of pits, and was getting close to throwing everything away that I’ve always held so dear.

So, I believe he allowed something into my life that would finally get my attention, because nothing else had yet been able to do it. This sickness —this bizarre, undiagnosed, baffling, absolutely terrifying, miserable sickness— is what at last brought me to my knees and to my senses. It brought me back to my God…

Announcing my NEW Blog!

06.10.2011 | 9:45 am | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

Ms. Understood…Homeschools! has moved to a new URL! Make the appropriate changes in your links or whatever you use to get here. All three of you. :D If you use a feed reader, you’ll want to change the address. The new address is .

I’m also sporting a brand-new look, thanks to my designer subjecting himself to hours of technical misery working tirelessly over several nights, so check it out if you have the chance. I know in this age of feed readers, readers rarely click over and never actually see anyone’s blog design (I know I rarely do, because I rarely ever comment on anyone’s blog, because I always have issues with the commenting software and can rarely ever successfully leave a comment!), but since he worked so hard, give it a quick looky-loo if you have time and are feeling wild. ;-)  It’s not completely finished; there are still a good many tweaks to be made, but it’s working overall and has a few new features…for instance, I actually updated my pages. My “About” page actually has current info now, rather than info from five years ago (yes, my old one actually said I had only one child—who was two, and that I’d been happily married for 8 years. lol).

In addition to my new “About” page, I added a page on “My Students“, featuring and highlighting each of my little students, and also a page for “Our Curriculum”, which highlights what we use (to be updated very soon with our new 3rd grade curriculum choices!).

Speaking of the few tweaks we need to make, we’re trying to fix my blogroll & links so that they’re in some kind of order that makes sense (it drives me crazy to have homeschool, political, humor, and family/mothering blogs and links all mixed up together), but so far we haven’t found the right plugin. If anyone has a suggestion on how to change link order, please let me know.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy summering! We’re enjoying our time off!

Getting to Know You…er, Me.

05.26.2011 | 4:53 pm | Uncategorized

I saw this on a homeschool blog and since I’m feeling under the weather today, took a little break to fill it out.

Your family is…

My husband and our two sons, G who is 7, and D who is 3. And me. :)

Name 5 homeschool products you cannot live without.

I’m not a “product” person; in other words, I’m frugal and live very simply (read that as VERY simply). I don’t spend money on gadgets and other things that most people think they can’t live without. Um, that said, I certainly couldn’t live without my laptop. It’s a crucial homeschooling tool for today; I do all my curriculum research and most of my curriculum-buying via my computer. So that’s the one thing I’d say I can’t live without. Everything else, I guess I already am surviving without.
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Two Weekly Wrap-Ups, with an Emergency Hospitalization in Between :(

03.18.2011 | 12:53 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

Most of you reading already know about my terrifying health issue that went down last Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Last Thursday morning, my very first ambulance ride whisked me away for an ER trip and a subsequent four-day stay in the hospital, with various doctors, nurses, techs, and every kind of employee in between telling me that I came very close to dying. I don’t doubt it, with the way I felt when Philip decided to call the ambulance. Thankfully though, God was with me, I got help in time, and, FIVE blood transfusions later, I left the hospital and came home on Sunday.

I have many complaints about our local hospital on one hand, but one thing I can say for sure: they knew what they were doing in the ER. I came in with life-threatening symptoms, near death, and with no real idea what was wrong. They set right to work and within an hour, they knew exactly what the problem was and were working on getting it fixed. It was amazing, and I was so grateful. If you don’t know the details but would like to know, just ask and I’ll share via comment email.

I’ve been weak and trying to build up my strength all week, but even so, we still managed to get in an entire week of school, plus make-up work for last Thursday & Friday’s missed days while I was hospitalized. We just did everything while sitting on the couch or loveseat in the living room. I didn’t have the strength to sit up at the table, but am hoping that next week we can be back to normal for our lessons.
I’m just going to combine last week’s work with this week’s, as one big wrap-up.

G’s math consisted of more practice of the “three” times tables, and the introduction of the “four” times table. He also learned how to make change with money, how to round to ten, and how to divide by twos and threes, as well as a few other smaller functions. Everything went smoothly and he’s moving right along.

During G’s language lessons we finished up with nouns, and we moved on to verbs. This week has focused almost entirely on verbs. He’s enjoyed the lessons and has a good grasp on these parts of speech. I’m still very pleased with this curriculum.

G’s Writing With Ease lessons consisted of me reading aloud excerpts from several stories, and him answering questions about what he heard, and then summarizing each passage on paper in his own words. He’s doing wonderfully with this skill! He also did several dictation exercises (where I read out loud a particular sentence, and he wrote it down word for word, by memory). The stories we read exerpts from were: The Hare That Ran Away, Little Women, The Invincible Louisa, and The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks.

History lessons were mostly Biblical-based, with a couple of interesting exceptions. We covered King Nebuchadnezzar & the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Ishtar Gate, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, & Abed-Nego, Ezekiel, Aesop, and Buddha. Did you know that Aesop lived in Greece during the same years Daniel was captive & prophesying in Babylonia? And that Buddha was a young man in India during these years, searching for truth (and did NOT like being called a god)? I love this History course! Everything is taught chronologically, lining up world events and people with Biblical history. It’s fascinating.

For his reading, G has still been in Ramona Quimby’s world. He read Ramona and Her Mother and Ramona and Her Father, and this week has started Henry Huggins (who was a friend of Ramona’s). He’s also still reading a good bit of his Bible every day, usually in the mornings when he wakes up, before the rest of us are up. He’s up to the Chronicles right now, and he is learning. The other night he surprised me by asking me if I wanted to hear a chronological list of all the main characters of the Bible, up until Solomon. He proceeded to give me an exhaustive, yet accurate listing, from Adam all the way to Solomon—by memory. I can’t gush enough about how wonderful the Adventure Bible is for stimulating interest, but even moreso, The Picture Bible. I may post about it on its own later, but for now, I can say that it’s an incredible tool for interesting a child in the Bible and for teaching detailed accounts of every Bible story imaginable, in a way that kids retain and remember. I should know, because I had a copy as a child, and I devoured it. I received it for my 8th birthday, and I read it over & over & over, for years. I attribute my extensive detailed knowledge of Bible stories & characters to this book. I remember in Sunday School, I knew all the answers, all the characters, all the details of all the stories, because of what I read over & over in The Picture Bible. When I read or hear about Bible stories today, I still picture every character and scene just as they were pictured in The Picture Bible. Nothing had a greater impact on me, Biblically, while growing up. It seems the same thing is happening with G as he reads his copy over & over & over. If your child doesn’t have The Picture Bible, check it out, and get a copy in his or her hands as soon as possible. It is an amazing companion to the Bible!

G spent a lot of time outdoors enjoying the Spring weather, both during my stay in the hospital, and this week since I’ve been home. The days are sunny and warm, everything is blooming and growing now, and the bees & wasps are everywhere. He spent one morning observing ants carrying tiny pieces of paper on their backs. That’s science if I’ve ever seen it. ;-) He also observed the carpenter bees that are hovering all around his swingset. He told me he’d even made a treaty with the bees, that he would leave them alone, if they wouldn’t sting him. I told him we’ll see how that works out. ;-) He’s also picked lots of flowers, meticulously arranging them in a vase he got out for me and set up on the coffee table in the living room. There’s nothing like a vaseful of wildflowers, picked for you by your sweet little boy.
We haven’t done any official art in a while, but G has spent an enormous amount of time doing artwork over the past couple of weeks. Philip gave him an old sketchpad that he didn’t need anymore, and this inspired something major in G’s inner-artist. He’s nearly filled up every page with various drawings and sketches, both realistic and cartooned. Some of them are really quite good. Most of them are funny—he has a slightly “off” sense of humor that will serve him well (and I can’t imagine where he got it from), and these little drawings display that talent quite nicely. I will scan some, soon.

Speaking of artwork, when I came home from my follow-up doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, G had this message waiting for me in the kitchen:

He’s a sweetie! I missed my boys so much while I was in the hospital. I pray I never have to go back again. Here’s hoping next week is a much better week, but at least we got all our schoolwork done this week!

Weekly Wrap-Up, March 4

03.4.2011 | 5:38 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

The one where we were bu-sy!

We spent all five days this week doing schoolwork; usually we do four school days and take Fridays off. But this week there was still much to get done playing catch-up after our sickness, so we had another week of doubling up on lessons.

We dove back into math this week, and G learned the “3” multiplication table. He tried to pull it off without spending time memorizing, but after the second day where he couldn’t answer the drills, I told him he was going to have to stay in his room with his “3x” study card until he could come out and answer all the various combinations without hesitation. Some say that’s mean, but I say it’s good parenting. ;-) And imagine this: it worked. That very day, he spent a chunk of his quiet time in his room studying the card & memorizing the facts, and now he knows the “3” table. It’s the first time he’s ever had to work at anything in math, and I think he’s proud of himself for making the effort to learn something that was a little more difficult.
In learning the 3 multiplication table, we’ve also covered the concept of 1/3, since obviously it’s related.

Language was fun for G this week, as we studied nouns! He’s enjoying the lessons and I have to say I’m quite pleased with Rod & Staff’s Building Christian English. It’s very thorough. It seems to me like it would be a bit boring to a kid, but G hasn’t found it that way (yet), mainly because he loves getting to work out of a textbook, copying answers and sentences into a notebook.

Writing With Ease lessons were doubled up again. I read to him excerpts from several stories: Alexander the Great, Nurse Matilda, and The Horse that Aroused the Town, and he worked to summarize what happened in each excerpt in his own words. He’s really come a long way with this skill since we started this unique writing program; at first he couldn’t summarize very well at all, but after several lessons, his summary skills improved greatly. He’s now quite adept at pulling out the main details and constructing two or three sentences that summarize the story.

History lessons covered the destruction of Ninevah, the prophet Habakkuk, and the Babylonian defeat of the kingdom of Judah. G declared history to be his favorite subject this week, as on top of our regular studies, we did an entire semester review. For two days, I went through our 50+ memory cards that cover each lesson all the way back to the beginning of time/Creation. The boy knows his history; I don’t know where he stores all those facts, but he is retaining them amazingly well—better than I have, actually. Today I gave him the semester exam, and he made a 95! He got one answer wrong.

G read Ramona Quimby, Age 8 during his reading time. He thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it quickly—he even read it outside his assigned reading time and finished it up one morning before getting out of bed for the day. We only own three of the Ramona books: this one, as well as Ramona and Her Father and Ramona and Her Mother. He was excited to know there was even more Ramona reading available, so he’s now a few chapters into Ramona and her Father. I wish we had them all! Our library is terribly hit or miss, so I won’t count on them having any of the others, but I’m going to check.

We started a new Bible study this week. I’m using a book he got for Christmas called Journey to the Cross, which is a daily lesson about Jesus’…journey to the cross, lasting up until Easter.
And speaking of our Bible lessons, it’s been weeks since he’s had a memory verse to learn. Why? Because I decided to break from that for a while in order to teach him the books of the Bible in order. We’ve worked for weeks, him learning 3-4 more books from the Old Testament each week. We finally finished this week—G now knows every book of the Old Testament, in order! We’re starting the New Testament next week and I hope to have him knowing them all by the time we wrap this year up in June.

Spring is blooming here, with flowers and leaf buds all over the place (as well as loads of pollen). G spent lots of time outside playing this week once his studies were done, enjoying the warm, breezy weather.
This may be my most boring wrap-up yet. Hope it’s useful to someone out there.

Tonight we’re watching The Neverending Story, which is an incredible kids’ film from the 80s. It blew my mind back when I was young, and I’m guessing G is going to love it, also. Highly recommended if you or your kids haven’t seen it!

Weekly Wrap Up – Feb 25 Edition

02.25.2011 | 1:31 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

The one where we played catch-up.

After taking most of last week and the beginning of this week off for sickness, I threw us back into schoolwork on Tuesday. We were way behind on our history and Writing With Ease lessons, so that’s where I decided to focus. Math and Language lessons were ignored this week because we’re either on schedule or, in the case of math, way ahead of schedule (we’re due to finish 2nd grade math in about 6 weeks!). However, I had him do supplemental math worksheets every day, to keep him from getting rusty.

We covered six history lessons this week, double what we normally do. I just wanted to get us as caught up as possible. Many of the lessons, like last week, were about Biblical events and people, since we’re still covering world events in the 700s B.C. We covered prophets like Jeremiah, Nahum, and Zephaniah. We studied the Judean kings Manasseh and Josiah. We also learned about the Assyrian empire (very, very brutal!), the Babylonians, and the Greek city-states of Sparta and Athens. And lastly, there was one lesson thrown in about what was going on on the other side of the world during that century—the ancient Native American people, such as the Adenas and the Hopewells. Both of us devour these history lessons, and I highly recomment The Mystery of History for everyone—it has lesson plans for all three classical age groups.

We covered six Writing With Ease lessons as well, also double the usual weekly number of lessons. The first story excerpt I read out loud to him from was Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride. He practiced some dictation and then wrote two separate summaries of the excerpts in his own words. I loved this story excerpt because it covered some true history of our country’s fight for liberty and freedom, and G seemed to enjoy it, also, because he paid close attention and did well at pulling out all the details when he wrote about it.
The second story we worked on was from The Five Children and It. This was a strange story that neither of us enjoyed very much. The writing was poor in my opinion, and didn’t make sense. G had a hard time summarizing the passages in his own words, because the passages were so weird and hard for him to understand. I’m glad it’s behind us and look forward to next week’s passages!

G did a lot of reading on his own this week, and it was all from his Bible—his request, and who am I to deny that kind of reading request? :) He’s been reading straight through the Bible ever since we bought him his Adventure Bible, and he’s up to I Kings! He totally gets what he’s reading, too. I think it’s amazing, and probably God-inspired.
During his Bible-reading, he came across an activity suggestion, which was to make a model Ark of the Covenant. He was set on doing this, so it became his art (and history, and Bible) project of the week. He found a small rectangular box and painted it gold, affixed two cherubim on the top, and then decorated it with gold glitter and paint. He worked on it for a couple of days and put a lot of effort into it for a 7-year old boy. Here is the finished product:

G spent a lot of time playing outside this week, making up for his sick time last week. The weather was absolutely gorgeous for it, too! The big event that could be classified as science is that he dug up some of the acorns he’d planted a couple of months ago, and found some roots coming from them. Oh, he was excited. He re-buried them. I wonder if any of them will become trees? It will be amazing if he gets a tree out of his determined sowing.

Speaking of the gorgeous weather, we had our windows open all week to let the pleasant 70-degree, low-humidity air into the house. Esmeralda loved the opportunity to perch up on the windowsill, and so did G:

Next week, we’re back to the usual schedule, I hope. This week was pretty fun, though, enjoyably low-key as we got back on track.

Weekly Wrap-Up Feb 18 Edition

02.18.2011 | 5:56 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

The one where we all contracted the bubonic plague.
Not really. But a nasty chest cold hit both the boys starting on Monday morning, and hasn’t let go yet. Fevers, deep chest coughing, stuffy and snotty. G spent Tuesday through Thursday in bed most of the time; he felt that awful. Only today has he ventured out and played a bit, though he still has a low-grade temp and terrible chest cough. Both their coughs sound absolutely horrendous today as well, so deep and nasty, but both of them have progressed to only low-grade fevers (they had been 101-102) and they’re generally at least feeling a little better today.
Me, however, not so well. I started feeling a scratchy throat Tuesday, but didn’t really come down sick until Thursday evening. Today I’m officially sick. Low-grade fever, crappy feeling, and terrible scratchy throat with a cough. So far, it is not in my chest, and I hope it will stay that way. I’m terrified of chest colds after my experience two years ago with what can happen when your chest gets infected. I did get a pneumonia vaccination after all that (and I avoid vaccinations, so that tells you how much I fear the pneumonia), so maybe that gives me some protection. That and lots of prayer.

So all that said, we didn’t do much schoolwork this week. Monday was our only full day of it, and I can’t even remember much of what we did. On Tuesday, when G was obviously feeling miserable, I skipped math and just did easy lessons from the couch. I also realize I didn’t do the Weekly Wrap-Up last Friday, so I’ll add in the one or two interesting points from that here in this week’s Wrap-Up.

While we skipped most math and most English, we did do our Writing With Ease lessons, which consisted of me reading out loud from the poem The Pied Piper of Hamelin. He answered listening questions and then summarized the poem in his own words. We enjoyed this poem!

History consisted of all Biblical subjects this week and last week. We’re up to the 700s B.C., so that explains the heavy focus on the events of the Bible—lots happened during that century. The lessons mostly centered around the conquering of Israel and the attempted conquering of Judah by the Assyrians, and the prophets who spoke to these nations during those years. One lesson was on the city of Rome and the beginning of the Roman Empire. Some of the details go over G’s head, but that’s the intent, and the beauty, of classical education: during the primary years, students are merely exposed to the subjects and gain a basic understanding, and then later, during the Logic (middle) and then Rhetoric (high school) years, each subject is revisited and is learned about more deeply. The exposure received in the primary years is built upon year after year.

I exempted G from reading out loud this week, as he felt awful and was coughing too much, anyway. But all the lying around feeling bad was a great opportunity for him to do a lot of reading on his own. He read most of the day, each day, when he wasn’t sleeping. He read through a huge stack of Nat’l Geographic World magazines from the 80s—mine that I saved. He loves them, and I love giggling at some of the incredibly outdated articles, especially the ones about “cutting edge” computers. Most of the articles, however, are timeless, aside from what people are wearing in the photographs.
He also read a short chapter book, which I can’t remember the title of. It’s something I picked up at a thrift store, about a mystery centering around a teacher in a school classroom. He enjoyed it!

Last week, he finished the lonnng chapter book, Dewey the Library Cat. He enjoyed it, though he said it was sad at the end. Dewey, at age 19 I believe, died from cancer. He was later replaced by another stray cat that they named Page Turner. I asked G if he cried when he read about Dewey dying. He said he didn’t cry, but that it was sad. Later that night, just after the boys went to bed, I was watching Twilight (not my dvd, though- it came on the Movie Channel so of course I had to watch it for the 487th time–and no, that number is not much of an exaggeration, I’m afraid). Do bear with me; this has a point. ;)

The next morning, G told Philip that last night after he’d gone to bed, he could hear Twilight on the TV from his bedroom. It came to the part where Edward was playing the piano for Bella (Bella’s Lullaby- so hauntingly beautiful). G said, “as I listened to Edward’s piano playing, I started thinking about Dewey and how sad I was that he died. And I don’t know why, but I started crying a little.” Aww! Philip told him that’s totally normal, because poor G seemed so perplexed by his crying over it. He told him sometimes, stories in books, true or not, make us cry. It just means the story or character means a lot to you. And sometimes hearing “sad” music will also make you cry, especially if you’re thinking of someone or something that makes you sad at the same time. G felt better hearing that. I guess it was one of his first experiences with deep emotion, or something like that. ;)

And that’s it for this week. And last week too, since I never did that update. I hope and pray that we’re all well next week, and that we have a full, uninterrupted week of schoolwork to report on by next Friday. Please pray with me that that will be the case, because after what I went through two years ago, being sick with anything chesty scares me.

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