It has been really great having John home from KSU for Thanksgiving break. Of course, we were all excited to hear him play the piano, and I know many of my readers are as well. So, here is a video of John playing one of the pieces that he has been studying this semester, Berceuse by Grieg:
Archive for November, 2015
This fall semester is flying by. Sometimes it is hard to believe how fast my weeks pass. I am writing this post on Thanksgiving Day. We were planning to visit Dan’s family for the holiday, but there has been an ice storm that has kept us home this year. And even though it is quiet, it is nice to have a few moments of rest before the craziness of the next couple of weeks begins.
So, what have I been doing? Well, in addition to homeschooling my kids, I have been teaching music at the Christian school, leading a homeschool choir, teaching 20 music students weekly (in addition to my own kids), working on the Genesis board, and playing in the college band. Each of these things has been an incredible blessing, but it seems like all of them are focusing to come together in the first two weeks of December.
So, in those two weeks I will have Christmas program rehearsals almost every day at the Christian school, we have a homeschool choir concert, a college band concert, the actual Christmas program, Cosette’s birthday, and the Genesis Christmas baskets all in a matter of a few days. Throw in there that I am still going to be trying to fit in my lessons and being on the stocking crew for the food bank in December, and I think that I will have plenty to do! I just hope I don’t forget something somewhere along the way…..
The homeschool choir has been a new addition into my schedule this year. I wasn’t really sure how this would work considering the students come from all over the area and can only meet about once each month to practice. I have made rehearsal cd’s for them to use between practices to help them learn their parts. I have been surprised how well this has actually gone. I have kids in grades 6-12, and they are all wonderful kids who do their absolute best. That is a blessing. Our first concert is in December. We will have another one in the spring.
This is my second year of helping with the Christmas program at the local Christian school. I can’t tell you how much I love doing this. Yes, it takes a lot of time, but I love the kids and the teachers at the school, and it is incredibly rewarding. I wouldn’t trade it for anything really. We only will have a couple of weeks left to practice once we go back to school next week, so things are going to be pretty heavy and fast for a few days. I’m sure I will have plenty of pictures to post of the wonderful kids that are in this program this year.
Another new thing this semester has been the college band. Kara’s trumpet teacher felt that she had progressed enough on the trumpet to play some with the band. Because this is such a great opportunity for musical growth, I decided to make it work into our schedule. So, Kara is playing trumpet in the college band. Cosette is also playing in the band–she is learning percussion and enjoys it a lot. And since I have to drive the girls, I decided to break out my clarinet and join along too. And, I must admit that it has been pretty fun.
Teaching music lessons continues to expand in my life as well. It is such a blessing to have these people come in on a weekly basis and share music with me. We haven’t had lessons for a couple of weeks because of the weather and Thanksgiving holiday, and I have missed having my students come! 😦 They’ll be back next week though! 🙂
So, things have been pretty crazy, but I am not complaining–I love everything I do. God has given me many wonderful opportunities, and I am thankful for each one. That being said, it is probably doubtful that I will get much more blogging done until Christmas break! LOL!
Usually the first snow of a season on the Prairie is kind of disappointing. Everyone gets very excited to see the sparkly white stuff, but then it is barely cold enough to snow, so the few flakes that fall melt as soon as they touch the ground. That was not the case for 2015! The first snow for this year stalled out right over our hometown, and it snowed, and snowed, and snowed! Luke and Kara went out in the evening to scoop the first layer, but by morning several more inches had accumulated. By the time the storm left our area, we had 20 inches of wet, wet snow. I don’t know if it is a fluke or a foretaste of what is to come this winter, but it sure was pretty!
Right after Kara completed her A Beka Academy 6th grade adopt-a-tree poster, it was time to tackle her map poster project. This is another project that Kara reaps the benefit from being my last child in 6th grade! 🙂 The trick to this project is using a projector to trace the image of the map. Usually it takes several maps to get all of the required details filled in, but it works! Over the years we found easier ways to make the icons, but the best upgrade we found was using a label maker to label the cities, geographic features, etc. That is so much easier than trying to hand write everything!
So, what is Kara’s next project? Her research paper–and she is just about finished with that. She is writing her paper about Pearl Harbor. She has her first draft finished, so she should have the whole thing finished by Christmas. That’s the nice thing about 6th grade: there are several projects, but they are all in the first semester leaving the second semester free to do things like musicals! (hint, hint…)
This summer the high school that I graduated from had a garage sale to sell off some old items that they no longer needed. I thought it might be interesting to see what was there, so I went to check it out. They had lots and lots of old metal and wooden chairs that had been used when I was a student and probably when my parents were students! They were dusty, scratched, and many of them showed water damage. I decided to get some of the chairs because I knew they were tough old things–much sturdier and hardier than what is available today. I figured if they could survive 50+ years at a public high school, surely they could get us through the remaining years we have homeschooling our own kids.
I cleaned the chairs up, but I asked my Dad if he might be interested in refinishing the chairs for fun. I guess it really didn’t matter that they looked old and worn, but I thought it might be nice to try to fix them up as nice as they could be. My Dad agreed to work on the four chairs that I had bought, so he took them in pairs to refinish.
When those chairs came back to my house, I could hardly believe it! Didn’t my Dad do an amazing job?! These chairs seriously look better than they ever did before, and they are just as sturdy as if they were brand new! I am very thankful that my Dad took the time to do this. I think these chairs are ready for at least another 50 years of use!
Kara is in 6th grade of A Beka Academy. Sixth grade is a transition year in many ways–the kids are moving from elementary school into jr. high, and it is a year with some interesting projects. The first one that Kara completed this fall was her adopt-a-tree project. We have always been fortunate when doing this project because of where Dan works. He works at a university research station, and there are some unique trees there for our area that our taken care of and labelled. This makes this project so much easier than it otherwise could be!
Kara chose a silver maple at the station for her tree. It took us several visits to remember to get all of the pictures and information that we needed to make her poster, but eventually we got it all done. Kara does have one advantage over her siblings: she is number five to do all of these school projects, and her Mom has learned a few things along the way to help the process go more smoothly! 🙂 (Poor John, we kind of struggled along the first time through these things!)
Kara is a very diligent student. She is self-motivated to do her absolute best, and that is a blessing.