Monday, September 14, 2015

Doing A New Thing: Chemistry 101

Being in my 19th year of homeschooling and having only the baby of the family left to educate, we're mostly on auto-pilot when it comes to curriculum choices. Why break what ain't fixed, as they say. 

But instead of keeping with that eloquent maxim, I decided to use a different science curriculum with Annika this year. I am a big fan of Apologia’s Science Curriculum generally, but it’s a lot for a dyslexic child to digest.

She wants to be a nurse so I really want her to understand and learn the work, not just get it done so she can move on, which often happens when she is taking an Apologia course at our co op. Not because it’s a bad course, on the contrary our co op science courses are amazing and the teacher is awesome! The problem I’ve found with my dyslexic students is one of timing. We have to fit the whole curriculum into 30 weeks. I wanted to do something at home this year so that if we need to stretch it out into the summer we have the ability to do that. We can go a bit slower if we need to and I think that’s going to make a big difference.

This year for a variety of reasons (not the least of which being that the timing of the Chemistry class didn’t work very well with her schedule) we decided to try something different. A curriculum I found called Chemistry 101. We’re starting week 4 and so far, I am very pleased. Best of all, ANNIKA LIKES IT!!

The Chemistry 101 program is entirely DVD based, but they have a CD with PDF documents you can print out to create a binder like this. Also, they give you a clear path to making sure that even though this Chemistry is a bit nontraditional, it meets requirements for a high school credit.

The tabs read: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Research, Lab Reports, Discussion Questions, Quiz

I also added these two books to our curriculum to beef it up a bit. That Elements book is SO COOL!

This is what a typical week looks like for her. 

Sometimes she will do experiments for the lab herself and sometimes I will have her watch a video of them being done. It all depends on her workload and availability of materials. 

As I said, we're only a few weeks in, but so far so good!

*This is not a compensated review, nor are there any affiliate links in this post. I’m just putting this review out there for any other homeschooling parents that might be looking for a science alternative to Apologia.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Surprise Party That Wasn’t

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Last night we threw a big, surprise 18th birthday for Evelyn. We worked so hard to keep it a surprise, but when you leave one of the invitations lying around, chances are good she’s going to see it. Oh well, she was a very good sport and acted surprised, but fessed up later that she knew. We all had a good laugh. So really, it was the Surprise Party That Wasn’t.

Regardless of the surprise, or lack-thereof, we had a great time. It was a simple swim party with snacks and cake, but it was awesome because of the people who were there.

This party was mostly Ev’s friends from the youth group and her cousins. There were probably 40 to 50 people there I would guess. As I looked around and watched the kids playing volleyball in the pool, and the kids doing various diving high jinks on the other end of the pool, and the kids sitting around the fire pit, and the group sitting on the porch, all laughing and generally having a great time, and I could not help but think of the verse in Hebrews that refers to a ‘cloud of witnesses.’

I realize those verses are referring to great men of the Bible who had paved the way, given the example, and cheered each other on to ‘run the race with perseverance’ but I see this current group of kids as sort of a contemporary Cloud of Witnesses as they serve a similar purpose for my children.

They show up. They celebrate each other’s victories and mourn each other’s failures and losses and remind each other to not grow weary and lose heart. They are truly an awesome group of kids.

One of the things that always amazes me is the youth leaders in our church. They make it a point to show up to these personal events. They’ve been at all of my kids graduations and many of their graduation parties and birthday parties. They don’t just show up for five minutes and leave either, they stay and participate and have fun.

Last night we all sat around and discussed the various bathroom situations on many of the mission’s trips they’d each been on. It quickly devolved to discussing various sickness and the results of those sicknesses in sundry third world countries. Let me just say, God Bless America and its health care system and excellent plumbing.

The point is, even though the conversation literally went to crap, everyone had a great time of good, clean fun. And most importantly, Evelyn felt loved and celebrated.

As I stood in my backyard and surveyed the goings-on, I said a little prayer of thanks for the people God has put in my children’s lives. We could not be more blessed. I don’t think it necessarily takes a village to raise a child, but it most definitely takes a cloud of witnesses. And God has given my children a very rich group who is with them on this race, and cheering them on.

*I did a terrible job getting photos because I was having so much fun! These are the only ones I have, and they hardly show any actual people. Whoops!*

Monday, April 6, 2015

And Peter

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. Mark 16:5-8  (Emphasis mine)

Most of us have read this passage several times. This is the passage my pastor spoke on yesterday at Easter service, along with most of the pastors around the world I assume. But Pastor Curt pulled out those two little words and centered his sermon around them. These are two of my very favorite words in all of the scriptures. ‘…and Peter’  

Peter is my favorite. I love Peter. I identify with Peter. Peter is what I like to call the Unlikely Disciple. He’s an ear-cutter, a questioner, a speak-first-think-later disciple, an I’ll-tell-Jesus-how-to-do-his-job disciple, and lastly, he was a denier disciple.

I imagine Peter felt like what he’d done, denying Jesus, (“Yeah, I’m not with him, that *expletive* *expletive* *expletive.*) was as bad as Judas handing Jesus over to be crucified. I would have felt that way. If that angel had not expressly said …”and Peter”, do you think Peter would have considered himself to still be a disciple of Jesus? Would he have gathered up to meet with them? To finish the work Jesus had given them? I doubt it. He felt a failure; worthless, out of the loop. He’d finally done it. That was the last straw. He was no good to Jesus now. 

But the angel said,  "…and Peter".

And that right there is the beauty of the gospel. 

We can’t be too far gone for God to reach us. Too far gone for Jesus to love us. There is nothing we can do to earn his love, and there is nothing we can do that will make him stop loving us. 

Whenever I feel that way, too far gone, I imagine God instructing His angel to say…

…"and Tricia. Make sure to say, and Tricia".