Sunday, May 14, 2017

Baptism, tie die, and bugs.

Sorry it's been awhile. (That's me specifically talking to John my teacher.) I need to get on the ball and get you all the info you need. I'll be doing that this week. (In email form as well as blog updates.)

We've had an amazing couple of weeks, and in the middle of it all, a cyclone shadowed our lives for quite some time. It danced around our archipelago, and got to a FIVE (the worst a cyclone can get.) But in the end we never felt of Donna's wrath.

Another thing that has through our schooling for a loop is the arrival of the PROFFITTS!

Side story-Matilda, my house girl, recently got the courage to ask me "Why do you believe Eric is a prophet?" LOL!!! We had to explain it to everyone, and it was quite the laugh. Can we say Lost in Translation?!?!

We made some leis for them when they arrived from flowers and leaves on our property, but we started them late, and we didn't get them all done. It was fun anyway:

But before they came we studied the Vietnam war. As part of this, we learned about hippies and their protests. I think it's a good thing in this world to have extremists on each side of issues, to help balance out the world, I just hope I never stay at the end of the pendulum swing myself, for I do not believe it's a wise thing to never see anyone else's point of view but your own.

We made tie dyed shirts to celebrate. I had a traditional Island Dress made for me which I dyed, but the fabric did not keep the colour like I had hoped. So for family photos I just used the one I bought in Hawaii.

Behold my hippie monkeys:

Not sure where the video went, but we did learn about the Space race as well. Josh, my nephew, built a rocket out of fertilizer chemicals and sugar. It didn't go too high but was still fun. 

We watched "Hidden Figures" as part of our learning which was perfect because I wanted to briefly go over Civil Rights as well.

But I didn't want to delve too deep into this subject. I remembered four years ago when we had an extensive unit on it. My kids didn't even notice skin colour at all until I talked about civil rights, and I don't think it was actually positive. Through "hidden Figures" I stopped the movie a few times for discussion, and Daniel was confused because he thought the skinny girl WAS white. I guess because of her facial features and straight hair.

As it was I thought I would just show them one movie about Martin Luther King Jr. and I regret it. It was the kind of movie that was "Let's show you examples of bullies and horrible people-now don't be like that and here's a man who overcame them with love."

But little kids can just pick up on the bully part and mimic it or get hurt by it.

Well-we are LIVING integration. So that's enough of an education.

As for science we had a really amazing thing happen. An entomologist visited us! Seth's from BYU and came to church, and we brought him home with us.  He took us on a bug hunt and a couple of days later he gave us a presentation.  

He specializes in dragonflies and found a never before described dragonfly while he was here! He's sad he missed the fire flies. He's also interested in them. Apparently he was told by the fire fly world expert that there are no fireflies in Vanuatu. But I've seen them myself! Seth quickly believed us and was sure that it was a uncharted species, not just a subgroup, and it would mean funding for him to find one.

 We took him to where we found them right as the sun went down, but no luck. Maybe we will find them someday and send them to him, although I think they're only out in the "summer."

Check out that spider on Daniel!! But that's not even the craziest spider experience lately. Check this out:

Ugh, I'll have to upload it later. It's a video of william playing with a HUGE yellow spider. No spider in Vanuatu is poisonous to humans.

We also found a python snake with our entomologist friend.

It secreted a nasty smelling oil when we picked it up. Didn't know snakes did that.

As for English, Maxwell is almost done with the Narnia series (!!!) and we've switched Dyslexia tutors to Analaea. I am bribing my boys. When they get enough English points, they get a whole day on a device! )since they get no time on one at all any more, I think it will work.)

Hyrum is way excited.

As for math, Maxwell is finally to a fun part in his math book of creating geometrical shapes from panels and finding out about their volume and such:

I really don't know what to think of his math this year. I'm not sure if i'll do it with the other boys. Maxwell learned the basics for Trigonometry last week including Sines, Cosines, and Tangents and their applications, but it was quite the struggle, and I feel like the program hasn't taught basic things well enough like balancing equations.  

But of course, maybe they teach it and we forget that he's learned it. That's what happened recently. We were learning about ratios in forms of fractions because of Trigonometry, and suddenly Maxwell gets confused about fractions being division problems.

At the moment I thought "This math program has so many holes!!!" but right after I taught Maxwell, I taught Hyrum, and guess what? We were learning how fractions are division problems. Proof that Maxwell was certainly taught the concepts and we forgot it in the midst of all this new info.

Division has not been easy for Hyrum at all. In fact, often on the edge of his paper he'll write the multiples of numbers so he can have reference for his division. I think this is excellent of him.

Sometimes his ADHD takes over and he needs to move while doing his math. This is his new favourite thing:

This is what he did while I took this video-he fixed his mistake later:

Daniel's math has been steady. He's learned how to find areas! I'm so happy about that:

This program teaches the metric system but it also teaches imperial. Daniel's been learning how to change feet into inches, but when they ask you to "measure yourself and record it in feet and inches and in just inches" we can't find a measuring tape with inches! Only metric here.

Makes you realize how ridiculous the imperial method really is.

Also, Daniel had a birthday and turned eight!! Auntie Becky made him a special tropical breakfast.

And of course that means it's time for his baptism. He met with the missionaries the week before, and we even roasted a pig in a pit for the lunch after!

So we (our friend Ezra) prepared all night for the pig feast.  He dug a pit and brought his special rocks. Rocks that he has used for pigs many times that he brought with him when he came from his neighbouring island.

He put the rocks in a fire for hours until they were glowing and looked like sparkling dragon's eggs. He took huge leaves and covered the rocks in the leaves and put them in the huge metal chests full of pig goodness. Then he lowered the chests into the ground and put rocks on top and covered it all in huge leaves and buried it all.

It reminded me of dutch oven cooking taken to a new level (or rather the original level.)

Dustin's family members that are here, members of our branch, and other friends all met on our veranda as we had a small meeting. Becky gave a talk about baptism that included the restoration for those that weren't members. Daniel was so cute and raised his hand and wanted to share what he knew, and basically gave the talk for her.

I gave a talk about how we all hear the Holy Ghost so Differently and what it is.

Eric and Analaea sang his "born again" song that he composed. I love that song so much. I feel the spirit every time he sings it.

We then went down to the ocean. The waves were crazy, but as we looked up and down the shoreline, we realized it wasn't going to get better somewhere else. Daniel had asked his cousin, Josh, to baptize him. I think it was special and sweet for them to have that bond.

As they were going into the water, Josh lifted Daniel over the rolling waves. But during the actual ordinance, all was calm. It was our little miracle.

As they headed out of the water, however, the waves were NOT calm, and even as Josh lifted Daniel over them, they still got surrounded.

We got back to our porch when the Davies had shown up. Dustin bore his testimony of blessings as he explained the ordinance to non-members there, and then gave Daniel his blessing. In it he was blessed with safety in times of trials.

I feel so blessed to have the gospel in my life. To have been surrounded and brought up by such faithful loving people. I'm so blessed to carry this on to my son who whispered to Auntie Shi at the end of it all: "I felt it. I felt the Spirit with me."

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Brains, Cyclones, Communism and Easter!

Wowzah! lots has happened since I wrote last! The main reason I didn't write last week was because our power was out because of a CYCLONE!!!

Life school at it's most intense folks.

We learned all about hot air rising and creating a vacuum for cold air, and the 1-5 scale of magnitude of cyclones, and how they name cyclones (in the Australian tropical zone, it's called a cyclone, not a hurricane----same thing though.) What cyclones were the worst in recorded history and on and on.

It turned out that ours was named "Cook" and didn't go directly over us, and was only a 2 when it went by. The only thing that happened was a small palm tree falling over in our back yard.

Maxwell said he was scared but mostly excited, and Daniel was disappointed it wasn't worse, but I was just glad it was mild. The hail storm in Cardston was way worse than this!

HOLY CAMOLY!!! I JUST *NOW* FELT AN EARTHQUAKE!!!! I'm dead serious!!!  I started feeling my couch rock and I thought "Everyone's in bed. Why is my couch rocking?" and then my blood ran cold as I imagined that some animal must be inside my house rocking my couch.

And then I looked up and realized my WHOLE WORLD was rocking! And then I thought "should I go for cover, should I wake up my family?" and I then heard debris falling on/off my roof.

But then it stopped, and me being in an ocean-front property inwardly screamed:


But then rationalized that it was a very gentle rocking and went on the Vanuatu Tsunami warning site that took so long to load that I would have drowned by the time they said anything.

So I'm guessing all's clear. First earthquake of my life!

WOW! nothing's boring around here!

Umm yeah, more happens then just natural disasters though. I put together this!:

Everyone was late, but some people DID come! I'm quite shocked that more people don't homeschool here though. There's quite a big population of "expats" here, but they send their kids to private school instead.

I've realized that I'm very fortunate to have next door neighbors that homeschool.

I've decided to make this picnic thing a monthly thing and hopefully get together with the families I did meet individually now that Easter's over.

Anyway, it's awesome that I have homeschool neighbors, because they do science with us and their dad brought us a BRAIN!!!!

(and you thought I just made up a weird post title....)

We learned about the nervous system. We checked our reflexes and tested our learning abilities, and we DISSECTED A PIG"S BRAIN!

My nephew (8 yrs old) had at one time wanted to be a doctor like his dad, but is now reconsidering if he has to dissect stuff....uh....homeschool fail? 

It was awesome for most of us, but I did have a brain lapse (get it?) when I cut open the brain because I couldn't remember all the parts and functions.  Whatever, I did remember a bit, I just wish someone could have taught ME that lesson! I'm too hard on myself. I was able to teach them a lot.

And yet again, the dog creepily loved eating the end result.

One of the VERY FEW books I was able to bring here was about the brain, and Maxwell's been reading it to Abraham (2) as a bedtime story! CUTE

By the way, Daniel has been asking and commenting such scientific thoughts lately! He's always taking things we've learned this year and applying it to real life "I was looking at all the green grass so long, my green color cones in my eyes turned off, and when I looked up, everything was red!"

Or asking further questions "How does electricity get to your brain?

Anyway, he's pretty cute.

As for history, we are continuing on our Cold War unit.

We learned about the infamous Mao. My stomach turns when I learn about what he did. We made mandalas in honour of the Dalai Lama and his exile by Mao and communism.

They were all quite proud. They were also all proud of the submarines that they made while we were learning about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

We talked about Che Guevara as part of it. His influence is even felt here. Good intentions. Bad results.

We also watched "Night Crossing" about East Germans who flew over to freedom in a hot air balloon they made.

We talked about the Korean war and how it's on the news TODAY that North Korea has never left the Cold War.

But then we talked about fear and what that can do to people, and talked about Mccarthyism.

We played a game where one person got the red card, but only black cards would get candy, and I accused someone, and told them they would get candy if they would accuse someone else and then I accused that person unless they blamed someone else etc  until I told them they were all in cahoots and NO one got candy! Until I said, just kidding, here's to Freedom of speech! and passed out the candy!

Our Cold war unit is not done. Too much to talk about.

We also have been having awesome cultural experiences. We have been having palm leaf weaving lessons from Matilda. We've learned balls, and purses and mats! (I can only make balls without her help, but I'm determined to learn how to make fans when she gets back from Easter vacation.)

Also cool living things all around us!

 See the chicken? A gift from a village that we visited. They meant us to eat him, but our boys LOVE him. They put him on a leash and take him EVERYWHERE they go and feed him and pet him and talk and console with him...yeah....we can't eat him.

See Maxwell reading with the chicken? He's towards the end of Voyage of the Dawn Treader. He tells me all the differences between the books and the movies, and how it relates to the gospel. So amazing!

But there are still dyslexic moments:  Me "Oh, yeah, I remember that happening to Lucy." Maxwell "but her name's not Lucy in the books. It's 'Lucky.'" ---facepalm----you gotta laugh or cry, right? Hahahaha

Also, in his math, he has been learning "Pick's Theorem" which was created by Pick who was sent to the gas chambers by Hitler.

That's how he found out the estimated square km of Efate island (where we live) by doing this:

He was pretty close. The actual area is 899 km2.

The other boys have been doing math and English too. Hyrum and Daniel have been reading Aesop's Fables to me. Their tutor, Josh, got a little burnt out last week because of an ear infection and how difficult it is to teach a ADHD processing delayed and dyslexic boy.

We'll see what happens. I've felt burnt out since Friday when I got some news that has sent me into a spiral of depression. (News that is not about me, and is not mine to share.)

I thought it was fitting that it was Good Friday. for even though we have our fridays, we also have our Sunday mornings of Easters in our lives if we look to Him. Right?