I seem to do a lot more posting about school at the beginning of the year, when things are still exciting and fresh. As I watched Petite working on her number puzzle with such enthusiasm, I couldn't help but think that these days are short lived. When "school" is literally fun and games. So I want to soak it up and take lots of pictures because these really are precious days.
Cook one pound of pasta elbows, shells, or something of similar size. Drain. Brown one pound of burger and drain. Add two jars of pizza sauce (or make your own like I have been). Spread enough of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a large casserole dish just to cover. Add a layer of pasta. Cover with sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni slices. Repeat the layers, ending with mozzarella on top. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, til bubbly. You can add any of your favorite pizza toppings to the layers.
This first week of school, we were preparing to celebrate the Sabbath from sundown Friday to Saturday evening. Two loaves of challah bread on the table are traditional so I enlisted the kids' help to make some. They really enjoyed kneading (and beating up) the dough.
And they braided it themselves too.
We set the table with our finest, which isn't very fine and is an eclectic mix of yard sale finds, but with lots of candles lit and a fresh bouquet of flowers, it was special.
The challah bread covered in the cloths the kids made.
Traditionally, the father of the family says a blessing for each child on the night Sabbath begins.
We wash our hands, sip from the same cup of wine (or grape juice in our case) and bless the Lord of the Sabbath.
No knives are used on the Sabbath- we broke bread off the same loaf. Petite called this "halala bread". Adorable.
We made this centerpiece of floating candles and were excited to see that it worked! We cut circles out of cork and stars out of an aluminum pie pan. We poked a hole in the middle and stuck a candle wick through it, with most of it below the surface. We filled a large bowl (or trifle dish in our case) with oil and about a half inch layer of vegetable oil. We lit the candles (one for each of the children) and they burned! They will burn until they've used up all the oil.
It was a really fantastic first week of school. There were moments in each day that reminded me why I do this. Why it's so important to me. Like when the kids asked that classic question "Who did Adam and Eve's kids marry?" and "Why did God make a tree and tell them they couldn't eat from it?" We had wonderful discussions. My kids are little thinkers already and it blesses me so much.
There was another moment that encouraged me, as well as hurt my heart. We were taking the kids to the YMCA to sign them up for karate. It was just after three on a Friday afternoon and several school buses full of children were showing up and dropping them off for after-school care. I watched little kids getting herded off the bus and later being escorted to various activities by Y workers. Can I confess it made me kind of angry? And really sad? So many kids get on the bus by seven in the morning and don't get home until five, maybe six at night. Then off to bed early for another day of it tomorrow. These are little kids. Then I realized this is "normal" and what I do is "weird" to many. There's so much I can't give my kids because of my own limitations and it's also simply impossible for me to do it "all" (read my recent post on The Drive). And I do need help raising them. But I'm thankful that the majority of their waking hours are with me. Those questions they ask about God? They'd never be answered in school.
We wrapped up our week with an idea I got from The Busy Mom on notebooking. We began notebooking last year with the student sheets includes with our Exploring Countries and Cultures core. And we have more of them this year. But it's also suggested that the kids make notebooking pages on their own. I won't get deep into this because I think you should read this excellent post (and I think if you homeschool, especially if you are newer to it, you should subscribe to Heidi's blog because she is a fresh dose of grace and you won't find formulas!). Anyhow, on Friday we made a list on the white board of topics we studies. I gave each of the kids a new, large sketchbook and told them to choose two of the topics and make a notebooking page for each. They had to title it and date the top. Eventually, I'll ask them to start adding more captions. This notebook will serve as an instant portfolio of what we've studied all year and it gives them a little bit of choice (which they always love). Mister made pages on the Sabbath and dinosaurs. B-E-G made pages on Joni Erikson Tada drawing with a brush in her mouth and one on dinosaurs.
Oh yeah, other great moments of the week:
The kids seeking me out and saying "I thought you were going to read to us!"
"Read another chapter!"
Yes, we are all loving The Tanglewoods Secret. Even Petite is listening in.