Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekly Report: Week 17

Wow - week 17 - the halfway mark! Time for a well deserved Christmas break! We finished our semester this week by wrapping up some outstanding materials, life lessons and some fun field trips. Here's the summary:

Bible: In Wise Up! We completed lesson 5 on honoring parents.We continued reading Tabitha's Travels for advent. We read devotions on tests, judgments and giving in Practical Happiness. We studied two hymns this week: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day and Oh Come, Oh Come Immanuel. More about the hymn study in the language arts discussion. More about the providence of God down below as I summarize life lessons.

Language Arts: Rocket Boy finished reading A Day of Pleasure and took a grammar test. We also had a poetry study on Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This poem was written during the American  Civil War and reflects the author's despair at his own life experiences as well as the ongoing war, culminating in an affirmation of his faith in God. It served as the inspiration of  the hymn "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." I used "The Story Behind 'I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day'". We had family worship together, as Renaissance Man was already home on vacation, using this video from Casting Crowns:

Our field trips prevented us from also reading Oh Captain, My Captain so we will read that one at the beginning of our next term. 

Math: Lesson 6 test -  check!

History: Rocket Boy continued to read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It is our first try at using the ipad to read a school related book, and Angry Birds Holiday proved to be quite the distraction. I will be acquiring a hard copy of this book so that he can finish reading it over Christmas break. Now we know that the ipad and school don't mix yet.

Science: Rocket Boy did very well on his science test. We went to the life & science museum to see the  Holiday Springs and Sprockets: Art That Moves exhibit, which was a very interesting exhibit in the tradition of Rube Goldberg. Created and built by Steve Gerberich, the exhibit included a train, a tree and other Christmas related creations. My favorite was the sleigh, complete with reindeer. Here's a video of the train:

After we looked at the exhibit and Rocket Boy took some pictures (Fine Arts - check!), we entered the Contraptions room, where we stayed for the next 2 and 1/2 hours! We were the only ones in there most of the time, so we each had a station to ourselves and built our own contraptions. I am having difficulty getting my iphone to sync, but when I finally succeed, I will come back and add pictures.

Fine Art: We attended the exhibit American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell. This exhibit traces the art and evolution of Norman Rockwell throughout his career. Over 40 works were displayed, including "Triple Self Portrait;" "The Four Freedoms"  "The Problem We All Live With;" "Murder in Mississipi;" "Christmas Eve in Bethlehem" and a complete set of 323 tear sheets from The Saturday Evening Post. The last section of the exhibit outlined the step by step process that Rockwell went through to create "Murder in Mississippi," and included his hand written research notes, photographic models and preliminary sketches. There were about 15 different pieces in that section of the exhibit alone.  Rocket Boy was entranced by "Christmas Eve in Bethlehem" and spent almost 2 hours sketching it in his sketch pad.  
We all thoroughly enjoyed this experience.
Life lessons: What week wouldn't be complete without these? I usually don't summarize these, but this week was extraordinary.  On Wednesay afternoon, Rocket Boy and I left the house to go to the Life and Science Museum. We got in my CRV only to find it wouldn't crank. Apparently it was offended by the seventeen degree weather! As we got out of the car, Rocket Boy remarked that there must be a reason God didn't want us to go to the museum that day. I decided to make good use of my suddenly free afternoon and wrap the Christmas presents that I still hadn't mailed, so I went to the attic to get the wrapping paper. As I turned around to leave the attic, my eyes fell on our hot water heater, and I discovered that there was an inch of water in the drip pan, which is supposed to be totally empty. Here was the reason God didn't want us to go to the museum! The plumber told us that we caught this "just in time" as the drip hose that would have emptied the pan outside was clogged with ice. We narrowly avoided thousands of dollars in water damage to our home. God is good! Just don't ask me why the hot water heater is in the attic. So, the new hot water heater and the new car battery were a small price to pay in comparison to what could have happened, however the vivid reminder of  the providence of God is priceless.

What a crazy week.  Not only did we need a new hot water heater and a new car battery, but Renaissance Man's car needed some repair work as well. He is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Volt in our area. FLL practice resumed & the kids processed the regional event and digested the news that there were some judging errors at the regional tournament. They will have to pull out all the stops at state in January!  Rocket Boy's lower retainer wire broke on Wednesday and at the orthodontist on Thursday we were pleased to find out he no longer needs to wear it as the space it was holding open has been filled in with a molar. We now have to wait for two more molars to come in, then braces will go back on his lower teeth. He may not need braces on his upper teeth, but we will have to wait and see what his bite looks like when all molars are through. We also ended up taking a snow day on Thursday - it was more like ice pellets, but the public schools were out and once we realized that the roads really were clear, we were off to the orthodontist, post office and other errands.  Renaissance Man has caught the family cold, just as Rocket Boy and I were feeling better, but Saturday Rocket Boy complained that his throat hurts and actually went to sleep early, so it seems the cold has come full circle and he is in for a second round.
We are on Christmas break now. We are hoping to make one more field trip next week, though. We had to drop one from our schedule due to the car battery and water heater day. We don't have our Christmas tree up yet - pretty sad, isn't it? Maybe on Sunday!

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