Monday, March 30, 2009

Homeschool Scrapbooking

( This is Joey's scrapbook from last year!)

As the end of the schoolyear quickly approaches I've started thinking about putting together Joey's portfolio. In Ohio we have the option of having our children take an achievement test or having their work (portfolio) reviewed by a certified teacher. We chose the later of the two. I chose the portfolio review for several reasons:

1. Joey is a wiggly, energetic, active, lively little boy (I think the doctors call it ADHD, but I like my definition better) who would have a difficult time sitting through several hours of testing at a time. Now, I know that Joey must learn self-control and overcome his constant need to move, but I also believe God put a little extra wiggle in boys and that this will improve as Joey matures.

2. Testing, while important, is not the only way to measure knowledge. Joey may be behind his peers in several areas, but ahead of them in others. Being on the Autism Spectrum, Joey has social deficits, but his unique brain make him more advanced in memorizing facts (especially dinosaur facts).
OK, that's "a couple" reasons rather than "several," but you get my point. That being said, I have ordered CAT tests (California Achievement Test) for both Joey and Laini from Seton testing. Some moms in my local group use this test because you can administer them yourself. This is not only for me to see how well they will do,but for them as well to have the experience of taking a test like this.

I'll be doing another homeschool scrapbook for this year for both Joey and Laini. I was hoping to put it together gradually doing one page per month, but it looks like I'll be putting it all together over the summer just like last year! Oh well, I guess that's one more goal to aspire to for next year.

Monday, March 23, 2009

"G-O Let's Go Upward, G-O Let's Go!"

(Laini's the last in the line...far right)

We just got back from the Upward Awards Celebration at church and had a great time. The event marked the end of our Upward Basketball & Cheerleading season. Joey really enjoyed playing and I'm amazed at how far he came from the start of the season in January. He couldn't dribble AT ALL and in the last several games he dribbled all the way down the court and in our most recent game, he made a basket. He was so excited that he ran off the court jumping up and down yelling, "I did it! I made a basket!" The coach had to redirect him back to the game still in progress. Joey is on the Autism Spectrum so we count all achievements as huge blessings. He even told us he wants to play again next year!

I enjoyed coaching Laini's cheerleading squad. It was my first experience with both cheerleading and Upward. The girls were precious. We performed a short dance/pom routine at the celebration and they did really good...for Kindergarten! I teared up at the end when it was time to say goodbye. It was a wonderful experience, but I am glad it's over. I look forward to a slower pace around here as far as activities go.

For more info on Upward go to It's a great program!

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's the first day of SPRING! Praise Jesus! It's been another cold, snowy, & loooong winter again in Ohio and it makes you appraciate nicer weather so much more. It won't feel very Springlike today. I think there saying low 40's tops.

So what else would I be doing? Spring Cleaning! This was the condition of my desk in our "classroom" (livingroom) last night. So at 10pm I was filing papers, dusting furniture, and organizing books. It was at the point that I couldn't function in the mess. Visual clutter creates mental clutter and something had to be done!

This morning I feel so much better. I can breathe in here now! Aaaahhhhhh:-) Satisfaction!

Happy Cleaning!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


You know how crowded and overpopulated Japan is, but get this - On the subway in Japan there are men whose job is to push the people into the subway car. I never knew that. It's so fun learning right along with the kids. I realize this fact alone will not be on any achievement test, but it helps the kids understand how really crowded it is in Japan. They don't get that there are 127million people in a space a little smaller than California (with a population of 36million, I think). They do get that subway travelers are packed-in like sardines!

We had fun putting on winter gloves and shoving each other into the closet. I also found a video on Youtube of these "pushers-in."

Joey laughed hysterically!

This is the view from inside our "subway car"/front closet.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Honoring Another Culture

Happy St.Patrick's Day! We're busy bees here at the Bondi house studying...Ireland?

Nope, Japan! We are on week 4 of our KONOS Honor unit and we will be studying all about the Japanese culture from their dress and food to the Samurai Warrior and Tea Ceremony. I just wanted to post a few pics we took this morning in our "kimonos." I am wearing an actual kimono and Laini is wearing her Barbie robe with a sash...complete with High School Musical flip flops. lol. Isn't my kimono lovely? My grandmother gave it to me. The obi she gave me is a beautiful fabric (sorry I can't take close-ups) that depicts much of Japanese way of life and the landscape that it is famous for. My father grew up in a military family and lived there for 3 years. He doesn't remember much, as he was just 5 at the time, but he does remember how beautiful the country was outside of the military base. He said it was too difficult to describe to someone else just how breathtaking it was.
The lantern below is just a little decoration to get us thinking "Asian." It's actually from Korea, but I thought it added to our study so I hung one on each end of our curtain rod. They really do light up.

I'll be back soon with more of our "tour of Japan!"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"...and I will dwell among them." Exodus 25:8

It's done...pretty much...sorta kinda...ok, ALMOST!

What's left to do:

      1. Attach trim to curtains for Holy Place and Holy of Holies

      2. Hang curtains

      3. Find pitcher for drink offering & bread for Showbread table

      4. Make risers for Brazen Altar

      5. Add goat hair covering to other 3 coverings

      All of which will be completed by me. We had to move on. I stretched it out to the children's limit of staying interested. So, tommorow we will do a fruit of the spirit tree and begin Japan on Monday!

      As you can see, the Tabernacle is not to scale. I made it a bit smaller than the plans called for. I wanted to display it w/out it taking up too much space, b/c that's something that's very limited these days! The pillars should be further apart, the brazen altar & laver are a bit big and the items in the Holy Place & Holy of Holies are also larger than scale. Still, I'm pleased with the result. I had a hard time figuring out the lampstand. First, I made one of clay, but it fell apart...too small to work with, so I found a paper printout of a Tabernacle and printed out their menorah. I glued a stick down the center and added a cardstock base. Then I spray painted it. I also struggled with the cheribum for the Ark of The Covenant. I tried one out of paper, but it just didn't look good. I ended up sculpting them out of clay and spray painting them. On the bottom of both the Ark and the Showbread Table, I used inverted push pins for legs. I really like the way that came out!

      Wednesday, March 11, 2009

      Tweaking the Schedule

      I am not a morning person! It's not in my blood. . .never has been. I admire the early riser... starting off with some cardio or weight training, showered and dressed by 7am. I live with that person. Kudos! You're my role model. I don't have unrealistic aspirations for myself however. That won't be me, but I do have to break the habit of staying up too late, often for no good reason, but mostly to catch up on things I didn't get done throughout the day, and struggling to be dressed and made-up before 8am. It must end! So, I'm reminding myself of the schedule I started out with at the beginning of the school year and tweaking it a bit.

      6:00 am- Mommy wakes, showers, dresses, has devotion (and several cups of coffee)
      7:00 am- Kids wake, dress, eat, brush (oh, I forgot, Mommy must eat & brush, too!)
      8:00 am- Morning chores: *empty dishwasher
      *load of laundry
      *make beds
      *clutter control
      9:00 am- School starts: Calendar, Pledge, Prayer
      9:15 am- Bible lesson, Memory Verse
      9:30 am- Spelling 15 min.
      Reading & Writing 25 min
      Handwriting 10 min
      10:30 am- Snackbreak
      11:00 am- Math
      11:30 am- Computer
      12:30 pm- Lunch
      1:30 pm- KONOS (until done, 2-3 hours)

      Mondays: Speech Therapy at 1pm
      Thursdays: Community Bible Study 9:15am-11:30am
      (afternoon reserved for errands and make-up work)

      So that's it! The great thing is, we can be flexible. If Joey is struggling with writing, I can give him more time. If Laini isn't "getting" the Math lesson, the bell isn't going to ring for the next activity. There has to be balance: Structure & Flexibility

      Tuesday, March 10, 2009

      Tabernacle Project

      After several weeks of sawing, sewing, sanding, painting, sculpting, and assembling, I can report that...we are still NOT DONE with our Tabernacle! First off, I've loved this Unit, as I mentioned before, but it has taken more time than I would've liked. I have to take blame for most of it because I made a few "creative changes" along the way and it cost me. (For example: I wasn't content to just cut fabric and glue it to the dowel rods. I had to sew "mini curtains" with no rough edges.) We are coming down the home stretch and I'm trying to let go of the perfectionism and allow the last few pieces to be "good enough."

      We learned so much about our merciful heavenly Father from this unit. As happens more often than not, I end up learning just as much if not more than the kids. The quote, "My real education began when I started homeschooling!," is SO TRUE! I knew little about the Tabernacle before and how it was a prophetic symbol of the Lord's plan to redeem His people through the blood of the last and most perfect sacrifice...Christ the Lamb.

      So, hopefully I will have pictures of the completed project by the end of the week.

      For now, here are the children dramatizing the free will offering. God told Moses to have the people bring Him an offering "from each man whose heart prompts him to give." Exodus 25:2. From their offering of gold, silver, bronze, fabric of scarlet, blue, and purple, etc., the Tabernacle was made. We went around the house to find and gathered anything shiny along with a few articles of red and purple clothing. The kids really enjoyed this part.

      Great resources for this unit:

      (I used the articles as our main source of info on each part of the Tabernacle)

      Sunday, March 8, 2009

      Soggy Day

      It has been raining steady since late last night...a downpour at times. Our backyard looks like a swamp so even if the temps are warm enough to play outside, it's only fit for ducks.

      So, on this gray dreary day I really just want to sleep, but I've been doing my planning for the week for the past several hours. Almost done.

      We use KONOS and we are on the Honor Unit right now. This week we will finish our Tabernacle and dicuss the symbolism and meaning of the different elements. We'll spend some time talking about kindness and end the week by making a "fruit of the Spirit" tree. I've really enjoyed making and studying the Tabernacle, but it's been a time consuming and labor intensive project. There weren't very many things the kids could do themselves or even help with. Much of the time they just watched me, but I tried to use that time to talk about what each element meant. Still a great unit, just wish we had more time!

      Now we're off to the grocery store and I'm hoping to avoid a midweek run for some specific item I've forgotten! TTFN!

      Saturday, March 7, 2009

      Our First Blog!

      So, I've seen quite a few homeschool families are blogging and I thought, why not? I've been so blesssed by the great ideas and encouraging words that other moms have posted. Maybe someone out there will be encouraged by our blog. If nothing else, it looks like a great way for family to see what's happening in our home. I also think it'll be a good way for me to stay on track. Knowing that people are "popping in" might help me give that extra bit of effort that will enhance our homeschool. When I know I'm having company, I'm definitely more motivated to clean my house!

      This week I'll get some photos together and have this blog in working order:-)