Wednesday, December 30, 2009


1. the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression; candidness

So I found this little survey on someone else's blog the other day and thought it would be fun to try out with Hunter, see what answers he would come up with.

I tried not to give him examples when asking the question (i.e. asking "What do you and I do together? You know, like do we read, cook, walk, what?") because he will generally just pick one of my suggestions.

So this is the suggestion-free survey of Mommy according to Hunter. (Warning: complete and utter randomness)

Hey Hunter, we're gonna play a game ok? I'm gonna ask you some questions to see how much you know me.  
"I do know you. You're Elizabeth. Elizabeth [Last name]."
Ok but I'm going to ask you some questions about what you think about me, ok? It'll be fun. 
 1. What is something I always say to you?
"Um, get my lesson book, feed the dog..."
Is that all? 
 2. What makes me happy?
"Cleaning up stuff, like the living room, the dog's cage, the kitchen..." [really?]
 3. What makes me sad?
"It makes you sad when Brandon's not here and me and Brandon go places. That makes you sad."
That's what makes me sad?
"Yeah, it does make you sad. But when we come back, it doesn't make you sad. That makes you happy."
 4. How do I make you laugh?
"Um, when I'm playing with Brandon, you make me laugh."
"When you say something funny that makes me laugh when I'm playing with Brandon."
Like what? 
"I don't know, I can't think of anything."
 5. What was I like when I was a little girl?
"I don't know."
You can't think of anything?
"You have been bad when you were a little girl and not listening to my Nana. And you took a toy in bed and lost it when you woke up."
Ok... anything else?
"My Nana told you to put the toy away and you disobeyed her. And I was gonna be there to help, but I wasn't there. But I should've. And you should've asked for something, like pudding... But if my Nana askes you to set the table, will you set it? Did you set it when my Nana told you to, did you? When you were a little girl, did you? Excuse me Mom, did you?"
[I was typing and trying to record all this, so I didn't answer right away. I think this story possibly has something to do with a story I may have told him a long time ago about a time I disobeyed, but I really have no clue what he was talking about!]
 6. How old am I?
"Um, I don't know how old you are. How old are you?"
 7. How tall am I?
"I don't know. You're like 60 pounds." [I guess he doesn't have the greatest sense of weight]
No I asked how tall I was not how much I weighed, silly.
"I don't know." He paused for a minute, then said, "I want to measure you."
Just guess. You are 44 inches tall, how tall do you think I am?
"I think you're 62 inches tall." [close - 65, actually]
 8. What is my favorite thing to do?
"Playing with me. That's what you wanna do in the whole world."
 9. What do I do when you’re not around?
"Um, be with Brandon, playing with him."
What do Brandon and I do?
"Well let's see.. you play with Brandon and you watch TV with him, and you come to pick me up when it's bedtime for me. That's what you do with Brandon, that's all." [pick me up at bedtime has to do with the time he went to the neighbors when Brandon and I went to a Christmas party] 
 10. If I become famous, what will it be for? (I had to explain this one, he didn't know what famous meant.)
Famous means like something you do that a lot of people know you for, like the president is famous, or a musician, or an athlete... 
"I'm really good at drawing. I'm a muscian. I'm famous, cause I'm really good at drawing."
Well famous means that a lot of people know you for it, like you're on TV and stuff. What do you think Mommy could be famous for?
"If you could do stuff, like be famous, like be a musician, and, nothing else."
A musician? You can't think of anything else?
"Yeah. And, I don't know what else. I have no idea."
 11. What is something I am really good at?
"Um... hmm, let's see... I'm just tryin to think of something. Well, eating, not getting food on your face." [we have been trying to get him more neat and careful when he eats and not make a mess]
Is there anything else?
"You're good at drinking, not getting drinks on you."
 12. What am I not very good at?
Gluing what?
"Gluing paper."
What do you mean?
"If you have it off a book... If you have a piece of paper and you're gluing a thing off a book, and you're making a circle, that'd be hard. That's why I said that." [starts twirling a sword around and making strange noises]
Then he announces, "I'm going to ask you a few questions. What are you good at? Telling time?"
You think I'm good at telling time? 
 13. What do I do for a job?
"Um, working at... Let's see, working at karate, which is cleaning... Your phone! Why aren't you answering it?" [text message came in]
I got it baby boy. But, you said my job is what?
"Working at the gym, remember?"
Well yes that was a job, but what is my job now?
"Cleaning the house. Feeding Brandon, that's your job."
Anything else?
"No, no way. Nothing else that I know."
 14. What is my favorite food?
"Pudding. Candy. Brownies. Chicken, and corn, and celery, and potatos..."
But which one do you think is my favorite?
"Chicken." [he was close with the brownies one. Chocolate is up there on my list.] 
 15. What makes you proud of me?
"When you make me food that makes me proud of you. And I'm proud of you because you make me a tent."
 16. If I were a cartoon character, who would I be?
Do you even know who Supergirl is? Have you ever seen her in a movie or something?
"Well if you're in a movie, you can be Spidergirl. I am Spiderman, there can be two. And the hulk, and we can beat up all the bad guys."
 17. What do you and I do together?
"Play. Play money-go."
What's money go?
"The one that has pennies and quarters and nickles and stuff [starts singing money song]."
 18. How are you and I the same?
"Um, well we're not the same."
Are there things about us that are the same?
"Well, we're both brown and white... And red, and black, and white..."
What? I'm not red and black and white.
"Yes you are, your lips are red, and your nose is white, and your eyes have black. We're both those same colors."
 19. How are you and I different?
"Your hair is different, because it's longer than mine."
 20. How do you know I love you?
"Because, you just told me, you just told me that you love me."
Is there something that I do that makes you know that I love you?
"Yeah, you feed me, and, let me play with my gun. And you let me play with Brandon and my gun, and read, and let me get food... But I can't get anything else without asking."
 21. What do I like most about Brandon?
"That he protects us, that he gets the bad guys, that he lets his friends come over, and that when he goes to work he says bye. That's what you like about him. That's all I'm gonna say."
 22. Ok, this is the last one for now. Where is my favorite place to go?
"Yeah, because they have cheeseburgers!"
No, what's my favorite place to go?
But we're already in California. Where is my favorite place to go here?
"I don't know. Burger King."
No, somewhere that's not food. Like any place that I like to go, a place that we can drive to, or walk to, or anything. What do you think?
"The park. You like to go to the park."

Afterwords, as I was typing, I told him, "Thanks for answering those questions for me, Hunter. That was very nice."

To which he replied, "Did that sound like a gentleman, when I talked?"

"Yes it did sound like a gentleman, Hunter."

Walking away, he smiled and whispered to himself, "I guess I am a gentleman."

"Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles..." 
1 Peter 2:12
Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monkey Learns to Read

Tonight Hunter announced that monkey was going to learn how to read.

We sat down to read together and Hunter brought me the book, How Do Dinosaurs Learn to Read? To which he then proclaimed, "Monkey is going to learn how to read."

"How are you going to teach him?" I asked, curiously.

He thought about it for a minute, then said, "I will say the words, then he will say the words. And he will learn them."

Then, he sat down with the book, monkey on his lap, and starting running monkey's hands across the words.

Ah, the refreshing educational philosophy of a four-year-old.

"Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes." 
Psalm 119:12

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Seasons and More

Earlier last week was the winter solstice, or "first day of winter" and longest day of the year. We talked about how the days have been getting shorter and shorter little by little, but now they will start getting just a little bit longer and a little bit longer until the longest day of the year in June.

This is actually something that has been really close to Hunter because, not only does he notice that his daytime playing hours are certainly less than before, it is especially noticeable to him because of the time Brandon goes to work every day (4:30 pm). When we first got here, there were several hours from between the time Brandon left and the time it got dark, but now the sun is setting as he leaves.

Anyhow, we made a chart of the location of the earth in relation to the sun at the different seasons. I made the earth and sun pieces out of construction paper, and Hunter glued them together and glued them on the paper. He also cut out the sun, helped color the sun beams, and wrote the season words. We talked more about the opposites of summer and winter in the northern and southern hemispheres and why summer is summer and winter is winter (tilt of earth creating longer/shorter days as well as making us closer to / further from sun).

We also learned some words - summer and winter solstices (shortest and longest days of year) and vernal (spring) and autumnal (fall) equinoxes (equinox means "equal", where the day hours are as long as the night hours).

Later we'll talk about how on the equator it is always hot (they are always close to the sun) and that they always have equal nights and days.

I like making crafts like this because it's not only something that is a fun project and a fun lesson, but something that we'll use again and again. We'll refer to this often to talk about a lot of other things (like the north and south poles and the magnetism of the earth, how the earth rotates as well as spins counterclockwise, the gravitational pull of the sun, etc., etc., etc. It's fun to learn these things as we relate them to real life experiences, making it simple and interesting to understand.

I was going to hang it up in the school room, but Hunter protested, "No, I'd like to hang it up in my room."

"He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing." 
Job 26:7
Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old 

Money Song

This is a very animated version of Hunter singing his little "money jingle". He got some toy money for Christmas and as a compliment to this blog post about it, I wanted him to sing the song just to demonstrate the tune. But instead of just singing it he decided he had to act it out for me, dramatically picking up each plastic coin as he said the words.

He is actually quite frequently this dramatic, but rarely for the camera.

He likes his toy money a lot, and has been acting out a lot of fun scenes with it, as well as playing math games with me (such as adding together coins or dollars with the use of the sliding game). It's really fun that he is so interested in it, because it makes learning a breeze.

He has known the little money song for a long time now but this is the first time we'll be doing a lot of math activities with money.

"For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it." 
Ecclesiastes 7:12

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tree and Presents

This was Hunter's "gift" to Brandon and me. He drew a lot of things like our actual tree, like the red bow on top, the brown carpet (although ours is actually more of a beige), and the red and green gifts.

We haven't done any more of the Drawing with Children exercises but I really love his representational drawing here. And that he really loves making so many pictures now. (Oh, and by the way, on Christmas day he drew about six more pictures, and kept "wrapping" them and giving them to us to open. Apparently he thought he had to try and match the amount of presents he got. So cute.)

"And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger." 
Luke 2:16

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christ-mas everyone!

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." 
Isaiah 9:6

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa Teaches Geography

This morning my sister sent me a link to a site called It is this world map with little marks of "where Santa's been" in live action time. The locations are (I think) in every major city of the world, and if you click on the little present icon over a particular city, it tells you the name of the city and a picture. There are even a bunch of "newscast-style" videos in select locations, such as the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal. So far he has covered most of the Eastern Hemisphere.

When I took this screen shot (around noon), he was in the Crozet Islands in the south Indian Ocean. Before that he was in Enderby Land, Anarctica and a little while ago he was at the International Space Station (that was Hunter's favorite).

Cool things about this:
  1. The obvious geography lesson. We are seeing pictures of all these world cities, some that we're familiar with and some that we're not, and their location on a world map.
  2. A lesson in time zones. Getting a better understanding of how it is night time there, while it's still daytime here, and by the time Santa "gets to" us, it will be Christmas Eve night here, just like it was in China hours ago.
  3. More on opposites of seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres. We were talking about how it's summertime in Australia and South America right now, making more references to the tilt of the earth.

You can learn a lot from a fictional fantasy character, can't you? Oh how I love technology...

"God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven..." 
Job 28:23-24
Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I love you

On Brandon's birthday earlier this month, I asked Hunter to write in his birthday card ten things that he likes about Brandon. This was his list:
  1. He wrestles with me
  2. He plays with the dog and me
  3. We read together
  4. He builds guns and robots for me [out of Duplos]
  5. He throws food at me [this was an isolated incident, in case you were wondering]
  6. He lets me play with Hudson and Danny
  7. He plays ball with me
  8. He buys me food
  9. He scares me [for fun, haha. They are always playing tricks on each other]
  10. He takes care of me

"O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people." 
Psalm 105:1

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shot Time

Hunter had to get his first shots today.

It may not be too popular, but I practiced delayed vaccination and these were his first shots. It was a hard decision to make but I had to do what I really thought was right, even if not too many people agreed with me.

The doctor's trip was quite comical. He was scared stiff about getting his shots, thanks to a special someone who so lovingly tortured him about it for two weeks.  While getting dressed and seeing Hunter's distraught composure, I realized that this was not just a shot session but a well child check-up. Which, I knew, meant they would not only be checking his weight and blood pressure but his physical and intellectual development as well. Great, I'm thinking. My kid is going to be scared stiff and they are going to think he's a mute and on the social level of a shy two-year-old.

So, I resorted to bribery.

I told him that the doctor was going to ask him a lot of questions [fill in examples] and that if he was really good and really nice, we would wait for another day to do the shots (I thought we would be going to the vaccine clinic, which is walk-in).

He was more than a little bit relieved. And, he was an angel.

He talked as openly to the doctor as he does to me. He told her how old he was and even volunteered his birthday, answered every question, commented on the astronaut pictures on the wall, and even confessed that one time he rode his bike without his helmet. The doctor left saying how cute and sweet he was.

Amazing what a little bribery can do, isn't it?

Funny thing, though, is that the doctor said we would be doing his vaccines right there, in the room. She left, and I asked Hunter about it (I wasn't going to do them today unless he agreed, since I gave him my word). But strangely enough, he was fine with it, since I told him they would only be doing a few since he was so good.

Comical part two? My brave little boy got right up on the examination table and smiled at me from across the room, and after they gave him the first two shots (simultaneously) he started laughing. Yes, laughing. See, I said. That didn't hurt too much! Just a little pinch, like I told you!

Still laughing triumphantly, they went in for round two. Suddenly, the smile was gone and he looked at me in shock and disbelief. Not moving or making a sound, his jaw trembled and his eyes got watery. It was more of a look of heartbreak coupled with offense than of pain.

Smart nurses, I thought. Saving the painful ones for last. I still felt bad for the kid.

He started crying, ever so pitifully. But it was definitely not the hysterical, arm-flailing, head-jerking, loud-screaming mess I envisioned a few days ago (maybe my visions were a little overly-dramatic but, he was scared!)

And thus ended our hospital expedition, that and a few extra-large stickers to make the pain feel better. We're double-dosing on vitamins, eliminating sugar and keeping iboprophen close by to help with the typical side effects. He is very healthy, very, very rarely gets sick, and has a strong immune system to handle the strain. So, with that and a little prayer, I'm not too worried.

"An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more." 
Psalm 41:8

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Monday, December 21, 2009

Math Game

One thing we've been doing in math lately is working on verbalization of mental computation. Or, said more simply, actually saying the answer (you know, with your mouth).

I made this game for Hunter recently to help him with memorization of basic arithmetic facts. The one shown in this picture is the plus one board.

The answers are on the board and there are little cards that have the equations on them. The goal is to match the equation to the answer as quickly as possible, trying to beat your previous best score. I think he likes the self competition, it's been going well with him. The first day it took him about eight minutes just to find all the answers, but on even just the second time, he found them in less than four! That has been about the rate he still does it, I'm sure he could do it a little faster but he tends to talk a little too much while doing them.

This is the first time we've ever done anything like this - that is, working on repetition of simple arithmetic. He seems to be doing well with it though, and after only a couple days he is done with the plus one board and is moving on to plus twos, then all the way through multiplication facts, etc. I'm hoping this will help him with speed, we shall see!

"And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me." 
Genesis 27:20

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Opening an Early Present

We have been enjoying the Christmas season together as a family. Christmas music. Little decorations. Buying a tree. Watching some awesome classic Christmas movies. Reading about world Christmas traditions. Tonight Hunter opened one of his presents, which he found wrapped under the tree yesterday. It was a collection of Davey and Goliath videos. Time to snuggle up to a movie together. Merry Christmas!

"And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." 
Luke 2:6-7

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Indoor Physical Excellence Fun

Brandon made up this game for Hunter a couple days ago. Even though it's still usually really nice out and all you need is a moderately warm jacket, we don't go outside quite as much as we do during the summer months. Plus, it's nice to just be able to stay inside sometimes.

The game? Stair running. With a little four-year-old favorable twist, that is.

The goal is to get his little army guys (actually, they're police) to the top of the two-flight stairs, one at a time, as fast as possible. Apparently, they're responding to an emergency, and you have to help.

He liked it a lot, and it's great for exercise and brain development. And loads of fun, especially when mom joins in.

"...But king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem." 
2 Chronicles 10:18
Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Friday, December 18, 2009

Drawing Explosion

Hunter has experienced a drawing explosion recently.

It's funny because, up until this point, he did not like to draw.

Ok, maybe I'm being a little too harsh on myself (or on him). It's not like he hated drawing or would never draw, it's just that he never really wanted to draw or, at least, not long enough to finish much of a picture.

I have been talking about the book, Drawing with Children, for quite some time now. I have loved the idea of the book (that is, that any child [or adult] can draw and draw well, even very young ones, without some special genetic gift) but Hunter hasn't really seemed "ready" for it up until now. I hate using that term because it's not that he wasn't capable or couldn't learn or couldn't enjoy it, just that we were focusing on other things.

But recently, he has been drawing a lot. Maybe it's because he doesn't have as many toys here or other distracting factors. Maybe it's just because he suddenly became interested. Either way, he's been at it a lot and more importantly, really focusing on detail unlike he ever has before. The picture above (of the phone) was taken a while ago when he sporadically decided he wanted to draw my phone, which he had been doing with similar things quite frequently.

So it seemed like the perfect time to get the book from the library and start implementing some of the simple, easy lessons. The bookmark to the left was made for Brandon's birthday, and he was able to draw this well after just one lesson (no kidding).

More on this coming soon, I am pretty excited about it.

"And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them." 
Isaiah 10:19

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dear Santa

A few things about Hunter's Santa obsession:

1. This is the first year he has actually really paid much attention to the whole Santa figure.
2. He has seen Santa twice (once at a military event, once at the library). Both times he had the biggest smile on his face. It was priceless.
3. He's not really sure about it all and keeps asking questions. When he saw Santa at the library, he asked him, "So, where exactly did you park your reindeers?"
4. Keeps relating things he sees in Christmas movies and asking about them. He was wondering how Santa was going to get in our house without a chimney.
5. Was trying to convince me to let him make cookies for Santa on December 2nd.
6. When he finished his letter, he asked Santa if he was ok and warned him because "there are bad guys here." (I guess our stranger danger talk is kicking in)
7. Besides Away in a Manger, he has been walking around singing Santa songs (usually in English with the occasional Dutch)
8. Thinks the way other countries celebrate Santa is hilarious.
9. He can tell you all about Saint Nicholas.
10. He has been wearing a Santa hat from the dollar store since the end of November (in public and private).
11. He thought his stocking was another Santa hat.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Luke 2:14

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Waiting to See Santa

He was getting restless.
"...and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints." 
Psalm 52:9

Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hunter's New Coat

So, Hunter got a new coat today. It is starting to get that cold here, although I really, really can't complain. I can deal with average temperatures of forty and fifty degrees all winter long.

But, yeah. He likes his new coat. While we were waiting at the window tint place (to remove it, because California has an awful lot of dumb laws) he was jumping around like a mix between a baby kangaroo and a ninja (apparently he couldn't decide which one). He seems to believe that his new coat (which he picked out) gives him super powers, because he was strutting around in it all day, kept wanting to zip it all the way up, and didn't want to take it off when we got in the house.

Crazy imagination, this little boy has.

"For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall." 
2 Samuel 22:30

Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Monday, December 14, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid." 
Luke 2:8-9

Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Light Focusing

Hunter was playing around with his magnifying glass today, focusing the light from the lamp on a piece of dirt he found on the couch.

He played with it for quite a while, and then told me, "Look, Mom. I made a flashlight!"

"Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways." 
Job 22:28

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I was so excited to wake up early this morning at the crack of dawn to discover frost on the ground for the first time. Like beautiful, breath-taking frost, everywhere! Maybe it's because I keep hearing everyone back home talking about all the snow and cold weather, I was a little jealous. But alas, yes, in California it really does get cold enough to freeze water - for the night at least.

I had to show Hunter, it has been fun to keep finding little nature study tidbits in this suburban life in California.

"By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened." 
Job 37:10
Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Christmas Algebra

Today Hunter (again) asked me, "Is it almost Christmas?"

We figured it out with a little fridge algebra and, as usual, he knew the answer but could explain how he knew. We'll figure out the verbalization part eventually, but for now I'm just glad he knows.

"I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me." 
Job 23:5
Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy Birthday

Hunter has been working really hard to give Brandon a nice birthday. He helped link together hundreds of paper chains, made a six-foot banner, colored paper balloons, cut up homemade confetti, and even made his own party favors (graham cracker treats, his own recipe, unasked and unassisted). He even made him a very cool bookmark, which Brandon will be using quite frequently, and a card.

Can I tell you how much fun he had doing all this? And, on a side note, learning a thing or two? (small motor skills, language skills, nutrition, kindness, hospitality?)

"Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many."  
Proverbs 4:10

Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What Hunter does when he's bored

"To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?" 
Isaiah 40:18

Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"I'm just that kind of kid"

I was looking at some old Christmas-season blog posts today when Hunter came by while I was watching "the candy game" video. The video is of him playing a quantity-finding game, and I think that the laughter in the clip was contagious because he was cracking up.

Then of course he got me cracking up, too.

Laughing, I asked him in a sort of glorified way, "How did you do that Hunter?"

He looked at me and shouted,

"Well I'm just that kind of kid!"

"I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker."
Job 36:3

Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reading, Reading...

I still can't believe how much Hunter is progressing in reading.

Not only is he constantly reading random words ("Windex", "Pepsi", "Purell", etc.) but he is to the point where he can basically read any text, although it still takes him a while, he's reading it!

In this picture, I was having him read me the instructions to a fridge latch (for childcare, not Hunter) while I cooked, just for fun and to keep him busy (and he sure felt important, too). He is also pretty proud of himself that he can read Christmas cards, billboards, etc. And not only can he, but he does, voluntarily, and excitedly.

It's pretty funny because he will frequently tell me, "Mom, I am reading, can't you see that?" if I move something that he was reading or "interrupt" (am talking while he silently reads something, with me totally unaware). The other day he was silently sounding out the sign "Dollar Store" while we were waiting in the car, and got upset when I started talking to him.

He (and I) sure are discovering how fun and useful reading can be, and what a big world of discovery it opens up!

"And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law." 
Joshua 8:34
Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


So, I just made this great discovery called freecycle. Technically it definitely wasn't my discovery or invention, but I discovered it for myself since moving here. This past week we have gotten a box full of misc. toys (that Hunter was fascinated with since he doesn't have all that many), a bunch of great homeschool books (about California trees, history, physics, calculus, and much more), and even some kitchen stuff.

And, I'm pretty sure that this doesn't have all too much to do with homeschooling, other than the fact that we have gotten some great homeschool materials from it. So I guess it does.

I have just been so thrilled with the idea, I had to share.

"...freely ye have received, freely give."
Matthew 10:8 

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"I Can't Do It"

The other day Hunter had another one of his friends over, who we were watching for a few hours. They had been playing for a while and were looking for something to do, so we decided on making some new paper chain decorations (to replace the Thanksgiving ones). It's a fun craft we have done every year so we were excited to make more.

His friend (who just turned five and is in kindergarten) was excited to do the craft and eagerly started gluing away. He accidentally made it into a teardrop instead of a circle, and I showed him how to overlap the ends to form a circle. He smiled and went to the next circle, which he again made into a teardrop. I again showed him how to overlap the ends, when he smiled and told me,
"It's ok, I'm too young to understand. I will understand it when I get older."

It's funny (and sad) how parents' attitudes can affect their kids - and create (for better or worse) their attitudes towards learning and life.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." 
Phillipians 4:13

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Practice with Place Value

I made this new math game for Hunter, which he calls the "sliding game". I got the idea after reading this really awesome Montessori book and introduced it to Hunter a few days ago.

You would think I was giving the kid candy. Seriously.

I don't think he has ever been this enthused about a math game before. And that is saying a lot.

He keeps bringing it down a couple times a day and playing it on his own. I'm not sure if it's the whole "sliding" aspect that he finds so interesting, or whatever fascination about the numeration of it all, or what, but he really likes it.

Basically I just made a bunch of cards with the numerals for ones (1-9), tens (10-90), and hundreds (100-900). In each numeral card, the ones are green, tens are blue, and hundreds are red (so a 100 card would have a red 1, then a blue 0, then a green 0). These colors correspond to the manipulatives we have.

He lays out the cards (pictured) and then picks a quantity (the manipulatives) and matching numerals. So if he chose eight hundreds, three tens, and five ones, he would get the card that matched each of those and lay it next to the quantity (800, 30, and 5).

Then the magic part? Slide them all together. And viola! You have 835.

(It's funny the things that amuse kids, isn't it?)

Then he reads the creation he just made, and writes it down.

There are also a number of other ways to play this game. The reverse is a basic one, of choosing a numeral and then getting the matching quantity. Or using it for arithmetic and the concept of carrying over, etc. (when you get ten tens, you trade it in for one hundred, for example). It is also a great reinforcer of the concepts of place value and zero as a place holder, which are the main reasons I intended it for.

But, he likes it and is having fun, and we're both excited about that.

"It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together." 
Exodus 28:7
Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Friday, November 27, 2009

Teaching Buddies

"What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose." 
Psalm 25:13
Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a fun Thanksgiving.

It was certainly different, without masses of relatives running around, but it was still a fun day together as a family. We also got to skype (which is free domestically) our family back home who was just done eating dinner.

Hunter watched the Animated Hero Classic William Bradford: The First Thanksgiving movie (which we borrowed from the library) about a dozen times and can practically quote it now. In fact when he made his little Indian hat today for a craft, he insisted on having just one feather because "that is how Squanto's was". He colored the band all brown too and didn't use any of the other decorations provided, apparently how it was in the movie.

We also did a lot of reading and finished the classic historic journal, Of Plymouth Plantation (at least the part up until the first Thanksgiving) for the second year in a row. I think he has a pretty fair grasp of the meaning of the holiday at this point.

We had another couple over and had a fun Mexican / American Thanksgiving dinner. We also celebrated Thanksgiving last Saturday at a friend's house (picture below). We are so thankful to have so many blessings in our life.

"Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works." 
1 Chronicles 16:8-9

Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Astronomy Picture of the Day

(right: ice jets irrupting on one of Saturn's moons)

I just found the coolest resource for our astronomy studies. It is NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day Website and I am so excited to start showing it to Hunter tomorrow. They post a new photo everyday (which most of them are copyright free since they are the works of the federal government) and they also have a splendid archive, dating all the way back to June 1995! The first picture, a computer-generated theoretical model of earth as a neutron star, is quite humorous in its simplicity, and a vivid reminder of how far technology has come even in just the past fifteen years.

The site is filled with so many incredible, unbelievable pictures, which left me (again) dropping my jaw at what technology has allowed us to explore about the universe. Up close pictures of Saturn's rings? Detailed pictures of galaxies thousands of light years away? Spectacularly beautiful pictures of nebula that make you think they're fake? And not only is there breath-taking photography, but brief (yet still thorough) explanations that anybody can understand (which is nice, since so many of the astronomy resources I have found are full of so much jargon it's hard to understand, much less try and explain to a four-year-old!)

It also is a great way to keep up on much of the current research and discoveries that are going on (like this month's discovery of water on the moon) in an easy, fun, straight-forward way.

And, it also got me thinking - again - about how a few months ago I was planning an astronomy unit study. As soon as I started planning it, however, I began to realize how this wasn't just going to be a unit study at all. Call me a dork but, this stuff was cool. It intrigued me so - everything about it. And I'm not the only one. Hunter still tells me he wants to be a missions specialist (even though he hasn't listened to that CD in ages) and calls math time "astronaut training". Among many other things depicting his interest. So this new daily routine (or sometimes weekly, since that's just how things go sometimes) is going to be a whole lot of fun for the both of us.

Here, some of this month's pictures of the day: (which are so much better close up. Check out site for yourself or click to zoom in)

Stellar flash of the star V838 Mon

Combined images of near-infrared light, infrared light, and xray light - a view of the galaxy with star fields, gas and dust clusters, supernova remnants, and more

Stickney crater on one of Mars' moons

Launching of the Ares 1-X

Zodiacal light over Laguna Verde
"By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." 
Psalm 33:6
Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Friday, November 20, 2009

Phonetic Spelling and Representational Drawing

" often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings..." 
Matthew 23:37
Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Hazel Eyes

"The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry."
Psalm 34:15

Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hanging Bar

We miss our brachiation ladder. To be completely honest, it wasn't even up for a couple months before the move. (My bad. I took it apart to alter it and never put it back together).

But still. We miss it.

Thankfully, though, we got our first piece of "physical excellence" equipment a little while ago. It's technically adult workout equipment (a pull-up bar) but it works nicely for its intended purpose of a Doman-style "hanging bar".

In the physical excellence book they refer to a simple exercise for toddlers and babies (and kids, and adults for that matter) to develop their strength and grip by hanging from a wooden dowel for short periods of time. Some fun things I learned are that

Hanging from a dowel...

  • Stimulates a baby's grasp reflex and aids in the development of voluntary hand release
  • Helps kids develop hand control and strength
  • Builds fantastic upper body strength
  • Strengthens the necessary palm durability and muscle strength needed for brachiation, an excellent brain-building, body coordinating, fun activity.

Plus, it is really fun (if done the right way, of course).

Hunter can only hang for about 15-20 seconds right now. But, considering that we haven't done this exercise in a long time, that's not too bad.

We're having fun counting who can hang the longest, and also practicing hanging and brachiating at the park nearby whenever we go for a run (there is no brachiation ladder at the park by our yard). Our goal is to be able to hang for one minute by the end of the school year (maybe). We'll see how it goes.

"...then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong." 
2 Samuel 16:21
Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Leonids Meteor Shower

Earlier today I was reminded (on a friend's post on facebook of all things) about the Leonids meteor shower that had been going on and was reaching its peak tonight. Googling it, I heard many different estimates of how many meteors per hour there were supposed to be and at what time the peak was to be expected.

I was so excited. What a cool experience this was going to be!

We decided to head out and try and see some of the action, finding ourselves on a dirt road in the middle of a desert and forgetting our blanket that we intended to lay on. We brought along some books on astronomy we got from the library and were reading them on the way there. I was surprised at how much Hunter remembered from the books.

Parked off a little ways from the road, we watched. And watched. We found a bunch of constellations, talked about how far away the stars were, and pointed out Venus in the western horizon. We have talked a lot about astronomy and he knows so many things, but we rarely get to see such a spectacular, clear view of the sky, away from the city lights. It was like it was all "clicking" in his brain.

"What? Are we in space?" He said with an incredible amount of fascination and excitement when I pointed out Venus.

"Of course Hunter, we're on earth, and earth is in space."


It was like he was actually experiencing the amazing reality of the universe - in a small, beginning way, of course. But still, it was quite a fun thing to share together.

He kept saying that he "wants to see the rocks now". He was excited but we weren't getting much action.

While we were waiting we reviewed what a meteor is called in its various "lives" - a meteor flying through space is simply called a meteor. One that has hit earth's atmosphere, therefore burning up (and causing the streaks of light that we see), is called a meteoroid. One that is big enough to make it through earth's atmosphere and reach the ground is called a meteorite. Cool, huh?

Well, we were out there for about an hour and didn't see any. I guess that, when they said the peak was supposed to be on November 17, they meant very early this morning (at like 1:00). And when they were talking about 1:00 am tonight Eastern time (there were still supposed to be quite a few tonight) they didn't really mean Eastern time. It was kind of hard to get our facts straight.

We were kind of disappointed but still had a fun time. I guess there are meteor showers pretty frequently, the November one being called the Leonids. We're looking forward to making a habit of this!

When we got home, it took us a few minutes before we settled down to bed. Before giving up completely, I went outside in the backyard for a few minutes. And you know what? I saw one! One, just one, but I saw my first "shooting star" and was so thrilled. I brought Hunter and Brandon out there, who waited for a while and pointed out some constellations again but, no luck.

I guess we'll have to try again with the Geminids!

"He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength... Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number."
Job 9:4, 9-10

Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Monday, November 16, 2009

No Comment

"Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?" 
Psalm 10:1

Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Am Batman

"...By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies." 
2 Samuel 3:18

Hunter Reading

Hunter is getting better at reading!

He has really taken off with his reading since we moved, I am so proud of his efforts, he has been reading a lot lately and it has been paying off. He has especially been getting better at automatically recognizing many sight words, such as to, it, have, so, etc. He learned these words by simply reading them many times, not by specifically memorizing them.

The best thing about it is that he really loves to read now. He offers to read to me more than he asks me to read to him! And that is saying something for this little boy. I'm so glad that he is finally getting to experience the joy and satisfaction of reading.

"...What is written in the law? how readest thou?" 
Luke 10:26

Hunter is 4 years, 7 months old