Hi! Thank you for stopping by today! My name is Bronwyn. I am a follower of Jesus, wife of a Marine, and mother of 2 autistic boys. We have been a homeschooling family for going on 7 years now and loving it! I also love to read, cook, bake, and walk.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fourteen

This silly guy turned 14 on Tuesday!  I am still not sure that I am okay with that.  I can't believe how quickly time has passed.  I remember a 3lb. 15 inch long baby boy lying in an incubator letting everyone know that he intended to fight for his life.   And then there was a 3 year old who knew just about every line of every Blue's Clues episode and recited them all day long.  And I will never forget the adorable little 5 year old who was the smallest kid in Kindergarten and also the best reader. I smile when I think of a 7 year old I knew that when he started homeschool would walk with me everyday and talk of all the pebbles he would throw in the river along the way.  I treasure the thoughts of a boy who even at 9 loved to bake with me and still cuddled up for stories.  Even 11 seems like yesterday with a child who could ride his bike up and down the street seemingly forever.  
How did time go so fast?  It is so bittersweet.  I miss my little boy but am proud of the young man he has become.  He is smart and interesting and a lot of fun to be around.  He is energetic and enthusiastic.  He is also kindhearted and loveable.  He has overcome a lot of obstacles in his 14 years and has shown us what it means to be strong.  He loves football, music, and a certain floppy eared dog.  He loves a good story and a happy ending.  He likes to bounce on the trampoline or walk on his treadmill.  He loves to work with numbers.  He likes to go to concerts with his Dad and beat his mom at Monopoly.  He is a super person!
We celebrated his birthday over the last two weeks.  It was low key which is the way he likes it.  Last week my parents came down to visit and he spent some time with them.  He got to go eat a special birthday meal with them at a restaurant that Elvis once ate at.  He likes Elvis so it was kind of thrilling for him.  On his actual birthday we ordered out pizza and then he had ice cream sandwiches instead of cake.  He doesn't like cake!  He got some video games, cds, and a NFL quilt and sham as presents.  I think he enjoyed it all.
So now he is 14 and there is no sign of him slowing down on this whole growing up thing.  What's a mom to do but look into the eyes of a young man and know in her heart he will always be her baby boy and, of course, wish him a big happy birthday!
Happy Birthday Tyler! 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Our Backyard "Bard"


 Well, I wanted more nature study here and God answered in a wonderful way!
It is dark in the picture because it was taken at sunset and we didn't want to scare him with a flash.
Thursday night I was loading the dishwasher when I glanced out my kitchen window.  We have a woods behind our house that is maybe 20 or 30 feet away.  I like to look out and watch the birds and the squirrels but it just so happens that on this particular time someone was looking back at me.  Sitting atop the fence about 8 feet from my window was a beautiful and very large owl.  I was so excited.  I tried to get to my camera and call Tim to see but in all the commotion he flew off.  Tim was able to catch a glimpse of him and thought he was the great horned owl.
Tonight we were waiting anxiously to see if he would come back.  He did!!!!  He didn't come back to our fence but he perched out on the telephone wire for a long time.  We watched him wait for prey and then swoop down when he thought he saw something.  I tried to take a picture with my camera which didn't work out very well.  Tim got the idea to try the camcorder and we were much more successful with that.
We now know that he is not a great horned owl but a barred owl after getting a much better look at him.  He is about 2 feet tall and has a wing span that looks to be around 3 feet.  He is amazing!  That is probably a huge understatement.  We are so thrilled that he has chosen our backyard as his hunting grounds.
We really wanted to give him a name.  Tim thought maybe Owliver and then Tyler noted that since he is a "barred" owl we should name him after the "bard" he has been studying.  So... we are now calling him Shakespeare.  Corny I know but we kind of like it.  We are hoping to continue to see him at sundown as we have the last couple of nights.
So here he is:


Please excuse my video editing.  I put together the clips as best as I could and I had to get rid of all our background house noise like our dog eating so that is why I have replaced it with music.  I still think he is incredible to watch.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shakespeare

Tyler loves Shakespeare!  I want to jump up and down and say that over and over again!  I did NOT like learning about Shakespeare when I was in school.  It was hard to read the Old English and we had to memorize huge boring sections of his plays.  I wanted to teach Tyler Shakespeare without having him dread it like I did.  I thought maybe if I worked really hard at it he might not hate it.  I had no clue just how much he would take to it. :)

We have been enjoying a lot of resources in our study of the bard.  I knew we needed to do a lapbook because he has been retaining so much more every time we use one to organize what he has learned.  I chose the project pack and lapbook from Hands of a Child.
I am really loving how this particular lapbook is suited to his age level.  I also like the creative writing assignments it contains.  One was to write a sonnet which was rather cute because he wrote it for our Lucy.

A really terrific book we have been using to learn more about the life of Shakespeare is Shakespeare for Kids.  This book does a great job of covering his life and also has a bunch of terrific activities.

I have chosen not to read the individual plays in the written language right now as I knew that create a lot of frustration for Tyler at this point.  We have been reading some adapted versions in story form though and I feel he is getting a lot out of them.  We are using the Shakespeare Can Be Fun! series, Tales From Shakespeare, and The Children's Shakespeare.
Hamlet is by far his favorite so far.  He calls it the play in which everyone dies at the end and he really loves to pretend to play King Hamlet's ghost.  We are also reading The Shakespeare Stealer Series which is a fiction series but has a lot of history integrated into it.  These books are great and both Tyler and I would recommend them.

As we read through the plays I have been having him notebook on the different characters and some of the plots.  He has been coloring some pages in The Dover Scenes From Shakespeare coloring book  to go with the notebooking too.

As added fun and some exposure to the original language of the plays Shakespeare wrote we have been enjoying a beautiful pop up version of the globe theater.  This I believe has been Tyler's favorite part.  This book is so beautiful to look at.
The book pops open to show the inside of the globe theater.

There are several punch out characters for each play.
There are two scripts with scenes from the plays to act out.
You slip the characters through holes on the sides of the stage and then read your lines.

I knew that I also wanted him to do some memorization work but I didn't want to have it be as boring as I had felt it was when I was in school.  I made him a booklet and I am letting him pick two quotes for each play in the book.  The book is actually just a couple of file folders I put together but he likes it a lot.  I am thinking of making a certificate for him when he finishes it.  I was going to put on it something like he had completed his apprenticeship and now he is a player in Shakespeare's theater company.
Here are the pictures of our memorization booklet.
Here is the download for our book if you would like it too.
Shakespeare Quote Memorization Book

video
It has been fun to watch Tyler recite his quotes.  He has an awful English accent but he does a great job at his memorization.  Hope you enjoy this one from Hamlet!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Summer School

Today was our last day of school for this school year...sort of.   We actually homeschool year round but we are taking a small break for about two weeks because my parents are coming to visit for a week and then we need about a week after that to get everyone back on track.  Christians schedule is pretty much the same every day  whatever time of the year it is as working with him is a constant.  Tyler's schedule will be slightly different during the summer as there are a couple of areas I want to cover with more intensity and other subjects that I know he is doing great on and can take a small break from.   Tyler has been studying Shakespeare for the last couple of weeks and absolutely loves it. Who knew?!  That really deserves a post of it's own though because we have done a lot and hope to do much more after our break.  Along with studying Shakespeare I also wanted to do Creation Geology from Media Angels with him.  I have had the curriculum for this for quite some time and it is one of those things that always gets put off and so I am determined to cover it this summer.  It is also nice because it covers the flood and fossils which coincides with the history we will be doing in the fall.  The other thing I will be working on with Tyler this summer is his writing.  I have been teaching him some outlining skills and that has allowed him to start constructing better paragraphs but he could definitely use more practice.  He can narrate well what he has learned but has a hard time organizing it into a more organized format when he writes it out.  The final thing I want to focus on with both of my boys this summer is something I feel we have been neglecting.  I have been longing to do nature studies for forever but unfortunately that is another area that often gets pushed aside.  I have been reading the Handbook of Nature Study blog for awhile now and so I finally decided that we would try out one of her Outdoor Hour Challenge ebooks.  I downloaded the summer one today and it looks great and adaptable to fit both kids.  I like the fact that it doesn't look so time consuming that we are likely not to do it.  I already have The Handbook of Nature Study by A. Comstock in the house so that helps too.  
So that is the plan here for summer school.  Tim is still recovering from foot surgery but we are also hoping and praying that he will be able to get around a little better soon and we can spend some time at the beach.  Christian especially enjoys the beach!  I would also like to do more geocaching this summer. All that will have to wait though until Tim is able to do more walking.  Family outings here go much more smoothly with two parents.  :)
I hope everyone whether taking a summer break or homeschooling straight through has a wonderful summer!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend


Hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day!  We had a relaxed weekend at home.  Tim had foot surgery a couple of weeks ago and is still healing so we are unable to do anything too strenuous.  We had loads of sunshine, a beautiful breeze, temps in the 80's and it so it was really very nice here.  Tim was able to grill steaks and hot dogs much to his pleasure and everyone else too.  The boys played on the trampoline and the swings.  Lucy soaked in all the attention of everyone being home.  I cherished the time to watch the birds and squirrels play by the feeders that Tim gave to me for Mothers Day, to stare at the blossoms on the tree out my front window, to bake tons of chocolate chip cookies, and most of all to enjoy the family God has so graciously allowed me to be part of.  Though flawed as it is I am still so grateful to remember that I live in this country that I love.  I am without words to express my appreciation for the sacrifices that have been made so that I can enjoy the freedoms I do!
Pictures from our Memorial Day (in no particular order) :)
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