Saturday, September 7, 2013

Week 2: Noah's Ark and the Santa Ana Zoo

First, I'm going to attempt to address a question I've been getting over and over again.  How in the world are you planning on homeschooling when you are working outside the home?  To be honest, I haven't a clue.  Luckily, my "regular hours" are part-time.  I teach musical theater and choir from 7:30 am until around 11:30 am but, often, return to the school (30-40 min drive with no traffic) for meetings and rehearsals and take much of what I do home.  This year, I'm learning how to schedule everything even tighter, to try and balance it all.  Last year we had a fantastic nanny that came to our house and loved on and took care of our girls 3 days a week.  She left for Bible College in August so we couldn't have her back.  Then, due to a few things I won't get into here, I'll be getting paid a bit less this year.  The decrease per month will amount to about the same as we paid our sitter per month last year so we realized, besides starting out preschool at home with Claire, there are some financial and practical changes that made us need figure something different out for the next 10 months. We've worked out a few things with Christian's schedule so that he can be home with the girls as long as possible, and if the morning permits, he can do some preschool activities with her to take the load off of me.  For now, he's working 11am-7pm three days a week and 8:30-7pm the other two.  We have various family members and friends stepping in to babysit during the hours that our work schedules cross. It's worked out, thus far (it's only been a week), but I'll have to admit that I'm pretty exhausted.  So far, we've "done school" after naptime and sometimes I've had to squeeze it in after dinner.  Claire's, understandably, not as focused at that time and on those occasions, so I've had to improvise with a few activities and do what she's up for doing right before her usual bedtime.  The other hard thing about this that I really, really hate is the fact that we don't sit down to dinner together on weekdays.  Ever. I eat with the girls or sit with the girls while they eat and then I will either wait and eat with Christian gets home or I will leave him food to re-heat and I'll sit with him while he has dinner but I miss our nightly family time.  Hoping something changes soon but this is where we are at and we are having to shift our lives accordingly.  Possibly, when things get too nuts, this blogspace many fall silent for a while.  I hope not. I'm enjoying chronicling all of this.  But I'm aware that the task before us is great.

Unit 2: The Earth and the Flood
The theme of the week was Noah and the Great Flood from Genesis 6,7 and 9. We read a section of the flood story everyday of the week (except for Friday, which was Tower of Babel day). The fingerplay this week started with "Two big bears got on the boat. . . " and we worked on holding up two fingers.  Random, I know, but she's figured that out now, but something I take for granted being able to do, took a bit of practice for her!

 We read the first part of the story and our first craft had to do with numbers and counting.  "Noah built the Ark with his 2 hands" so we traced her hands, cut them out and I let her paste them onto construction paper. Then, she practiced writing the number 2!  She traced it first and then wanted to try and do it herself.  Not too bad!

  After the end of day one I diverged a bit from the Little Hands to Heaven manual and came up with my own music.  All week, at the end of school time, we sang the "Arky, Arky" song.  Needless to say this was a HUGE hit around here.  I made up my own motions to the song and we marched around the house singing, "Riiise and shiiiine and *clap!* give God the glory, glory. . ."  Our neighbors probably think we are nuts. . .

Breaking out the Finger Paints
The Letter of the week was "B" so she fingerpainted an upper and lowercase B. She loves, loves, LOVES fingerpainting and asked me to draw more and more Letter Bs so she could paint more.  I think we ended up with 4 different painted letters by the end of it.

Giant Letter B and Sink or Float?
Again, the giant letter on the ground was a HUGE hit.  I missed a couple activities on day two so I ended up doing this on day three.  I put the giant letter on the ground in masking tape in the living room during her nap, then went upstairs and filled up the tub with bathwater for our "sink or float" activity.  When she woke up, I told her I had a huge surprise for her.  We went downstairs for the giant letter B and she was ecstatic.  "WHAT IS IT?! WHAT IS IT?!"  "What do YOU think it is?" "Letter B! Letter B!"  Her task was to take her foam blocks and put them on the letter B.  She took her task very seriously. . .

Then after that was over, I read to her more from The New Bible in Picutres for Little Eyes and then we headed upstairs for "Sink or Float?"   Anything involving water is certain to be a big hit at our house.  First, we talked about what the two words meant and how Noah's Ark floated in the storm.  After I was sure she understood, I showed her the tray of objects we were going to use.  I had created a chart with the objects in one column, Claire's guess in another, and the outcome in the third column.  Ashlyn tried to help with this, but it was mostly moral support and random splashing in the water.  (Sidenote, I do think she gets something out of just being there for Claire's lessons, although, I'd like to figure out more ways to involve her).  

The Rainbow is God's Promise
On the day we talked about the end of the flood and Noah returning to land, we talked about God's symbol of His promise to us, to never flood the world again.  We discussed the colors in a rainbow and I cut up pieces of construction paper for her to glue to another sheet of paper so she could create a rainbow!  She had fun with it but it was one of those activities I wish I could have done with her in the morning.  She was very proud of it when it was finished but I did help her a bit toward the end.


I did get her to write her name on this project.  Neat watching that.  Not too bad!  

Santa Ana Zoo
We finished our week with a zoo trip on Saturday.  I think if I had really thought ahead and had really gotten myself together, I would have taken the girls to The Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles to their Noah's Ark Exhibit.  It would have fit perfectly with what we've been talking about and it would have been something totally different for us.  This was our 3rd trip to the zoo in the last couple months. Don't get me wrong, we LOVE the zoo and had a fantastic time.  I'd never been to the Santa Ana Zoo (our other zoo trips this year were to the LA Zoo and to the little Orange County Zoo inside Irvine Park) so it really was a good trip and I'm glad I went but I think the exhibit at the Skirball is super high on my list right now and am hoping to take them in the next several weekends.
However, much to my surprise, the Santa Ana Zoo turned out to be a great trip for us and a good end to a Noah's Ark week.  I had always heard how bad this zoo is and, sure, there are things that really need updating.  It's not a "stay all day and be at the zoo" type of zoo.  We were there for 3 hours and saw everything (we didn't ride the train, however, we were hitting the "we didn't take naps today" wall so we opted to head home instead). There were tons of monkeys, anteaters, ostrich-type birds, an aviary and a little area with farm animals all of which my children really, really loved.  Ashlyn's awareness of the animals was so fun to watch.  Her favorite was a big blue Macaw.  Both girls loved watching the monkeys and the turtles int he pond in the aviary.

Next week Abraham is on the theme list as is the Letter C and Number 3.  Looking forward to another good week!


  1. What a great week! She is so cute! :)

    I can't fathom working your schedule and homeschooling, so I give you a lot of credit. That's very impressive! :)

  2. Great job mama!! Kudos to you for working AND homeschooling, I will keep you in my prayers. Sounds like your local to me, I've been to LA zoo, OC zoo, & San Diego zoo. I'm aware of Santa Ana zoo but haven't been there yet.