Exploring Creation through Zoology

Genesis 1:20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

 

Last school year, I made a last-minute curriculum change decision. Instead of teaching through Apologia’s Exploring Creation through Astronomy, I thought we would try something new, something that looked “kid-friendly”. Meh. I chose a Christian Kids Explore text (used) that covered Earth and Space. I won’t go into details lamenting the entire textbook and lackluster experience. Many people seem to enjoy the series, and that’s great for them. I think we should all find what works for our families and stand by those decisions. I ended up piecing together short units based on the subjects in the text and hardly using the text at all. My advice? Get your hands on things before implementing them.  We did some neat projects throughout the year, as you can see…

Measuring melting rates and movements of pure ice "glaciers" versus "glaciers" full of sediment.

Measuring melting rates and movements of pure ice “glaciers” versus “glaciers” full of sediment.

 

Showing the earth's layers.

Showing the earth’s layers.

 

 

On the upside, I have gone back to Apologia. I wanted to try something new, see if there was something…better? Anyway, the Young Explorer series offers everything we need in a rich science study, and God is glorified in the process. To ice that cake, Pinterest has become a homeschooler’s goldmine, offering up everything from applicable Netflix suggestions to corresponding art projects and where materials can be had for less money.  The kidlets have created their binders already, and I have the first lesson printed out, with each lessons taking two weeks to complete, topped off with an experiment.  Once I purchase my lesson planner, I’ll scribble in the lesson plans and get to focus on the best part of all – gathering experiment supplies and LEARNING TOGETHER!

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Updates and things to come

First of all, there were over 1100 entries into the “I Love Alaska” giveaway, and the winner has been notified. Congrats to her!

Second, the ground is thawing! 17 bulbs were planted yesterday, with 12 more laid out in a bed in front. I’ve begun hardening off a couple hardier sets of seedlings from our dining room, which makes me nervous. I hate to lose a plant due to my incompetence. As soon as we are frost-free, I’ll be setting out the little bed of chamomile in the front yard near a tree. I think it’ll give a pretty and somewhat wild look, while softening the base of the tree of which they will sit. Bonus, chamomile tea is excellent.

Third, the brooding box is ready for our chicks! Rather than simply buy a kiddie pool or fold-out apparatus for our future chicks, hubby made what almost looks like a miniature coop, complete with linoleum tiles and a latch (no lid, yet). We will be picking up a couple different breeds over the coming wee, so watch for photos if you are interested in our new adventure. The building of the coop will come over the next month, and I warn you now, it will not be fancy. It will be functional, though, and safe, and that is the goal for our growing layers.

Fourth, can you believe the school year is almost finished? Not that the pursuit of knowledge and educational experiences should be placed within a specific timeframe, but in the sense of, “My, how quickly this year has sped by!”. I just about have our curriculum finalized for the fall. It is getting easier for me each year to decide on texts and publishers and such, as we try things out and see what does or doesn’t meet each of our needs and goals. Of increasing concern is the prolific number of texts sporting the “Common Core Aligned” badge across their covers. Ew. I get that they are trying to sell books, I appreciate that, I really do. The worst offenders are those who have actually re-done their texts so that they not only meet the requirements but ARE the requirements. Have some imagination.

Fifth, I begin running (I am using the term loosely) with my brother today. The MudFactor 5K is coming up in June, and I haven’t been running on a regular basis in too many years to try and count. I’m also carrying around an extra 10-12 pounds of NOT-muscle. He is a gracious man, though, and probably won’t laugh at my red face until we get back home. 😉 He is very patient with me though, and I struggle to imagine life without him. We were so far apart – on different planets for all practical purposes – for so long, and yet I talked to him in my thoughts every day. A piece of my heart has always been his. I couldn’t ask for a cooler sibling. Now that we live just minutes away from each other, I’m still adjusting to having another piece of my family so close, and grateful for the fact that they are just down the road. For the greater part of my adult life, J-Dub and I have been on our own with the kids, making friends here and there, but mostly just living independently from any real network of support. Our privacy and slower pace is still important to us, but over the past few years we have enjoyed being part of a local group of family and friends again. Our babes seem happier as well, knowing that friends they make are likely to be there for a long time.

Well, I’m off to enjoy this amazing Alaska sunshine. Stay tuned for chick updates over the week, and coop and garden updates throughout April and May. If you are planting and homesteading and farming and experimenting at your place, I’d like to hear about it! Share your dabblings and ramblings in the comments below! Have a blessed Easter!

Movin’ and Groovin’

Time to get back into the swing of things, starting first thing tomorrow. I didn’t intend to go “full break” like the public schoolers, but that’s the way it happened. By “full break”, I mean foregoing all lessons and just sort of hanging out.  I’d intended for my students to spend an hour each day reading, and two 30-minute segments doing computer-based lessons.  What really happened is that we all got sick with the worst cold I have personally seen in my adult life.  I may have slept for almost 48 hours, I’m not really sure.  Thankfully, I have family who cares and older children who can feed themselves without burning down the house.  I suppose my plans aren’t always the best plans, in God’s eyes or anyone else’s.  To that end: 

Each person copes with change and transition differently ~ for this reason I pray for grace.  

Many good and worthwhile things are out there needing someone to participate in them.  Our days are full enough as it is, so adding more without removing some is not going to do our family any good. ~ For these reasons, I pray for discernment.

Priorities are important to consider when trying to keep one’s focus, the general ones for our family being Jesus, our little family, others, and each individual (caring for one’s self).  When these priorities get mixed up – even with the best intentions – our days tend to fall apart. ~ For these reasons, I pray for a sober mind and Heavenly wisdom. 

So here’s to keeping an upbeat attitude as we transition, saying no to overloading on unnecessary things, and keeping our focus on our current obligations.