Homeschool, Life
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July – at WhateverStateIAm

David took the two little guys in the swan boats in the lagoon at Fair Park

Family

fireworks from the Cotton Bowl

July was a sunny, happy month at our house (what a relief after the trials of June!). Every Fourth of July, we go to Fair Park in downtown Dallas for the yearly celebration.  The museums are half price in the late afternoon, the Dallas Wind Symphony gives a concert in the evening, and everyone piles into the Cotton Bowl after dark for fireworks. That’s how we do it in the Big D.

After that, we had a visit from some friends we hadn’t seen in a long time. That was like a mini-vacation! And, lucky fellas, they were just in time to celebrate Cow Appreciation Day with us – only one of the top 10 most important days of the year. Any time I can make my adolescent son put on a cow suit in public is a red-letter day for me. The longer we live here, the better it is: people recognize him now.  I never fail to take pictures and laugh and point. It’s not just about a free Chick-fil-A sandwich. It’s about the joys of motherhood. I’m blessed with good-natured children. Don’t you think they get me back the other 364 days of the year.

Do you see how big my oldest is? He is 12 and 3/4 now. *sigh* He is only about an inch shorter than I am, and much heftier and stronger. And this month, he hit a milestone that made me cry.

His voice changed.

At first, I did not want to believe it. I tried denying it. Literally, I told him, no, his voice had not changed. Not my beautiful, dimpled-cheek boy who sings soprano with a gorgeous three-octave range. Not my baby!

Then, I tried scolding him. Stop talking to me in that voice. Mommy won’t listen to you until you use your nice boy voice. {hey, it worked to cure whining}. He sighed and walked away.

Next, I tried coaching. Use your head voice when you speak, dear.  And I demonstrated a proper, high-pitched speaking voice, repeating back what he had just told me. He sighed and walked away.

Finally, I was driven to mocking. If he was going to use that rough, new {unwelcome} masculine voice with me, I’d just throw it right back at him. He sighed and walked away.

On the way to the library today, he told me, gently, it was time to stop making fun of his voice and get used to it. He was growing up now. I burst into tears. It wasn’t pretty.

But you know what, he is. Growing up, I mean. (I’m the one who wasn’t pretty. He is always pretty, even though he is growing up). My son’s name is Gian, God is gracious. And I recounted to him there while I sobbed and snotted in the van some of the many ways God is gracious to him. Changing his voice the summer before he joins a high school homeschool traveling choir is just one of them. Changing him into a young man of God is a huge one.

Learning

July was still a month of studying, in the midst of heat and fun. In Bible, we studied II Samual 1-14, the rise of David’s kingdom and his great sin. We continued to work on memorizing John 1: 1-14.

I started WriteShop with my oldest son and daughter this month. So far, I really like it. Teaching it to the two children together has been very eye-opening to the three of us. My son is the “scientist,” who thinks he will be an astro-physicist someday. Writing is his weakness, and he was not at all excited  about starting a writing program. My 10 year old daughter, however, loves writing and writes all day in her spare time and even gives her creative stories to others as presents. She could not wait to begin WriteShop and learn how to become a published author.

The remarkable thing about this program is the way it is designed. Kim Kautzer has written each step thoroughly and logically so that anyone can learn to write well. So, funny to see, my analytical son is surprised to find he enjoys writing class now and is doing quite well, and my daughter is confronted with her weaknesses.

We are still having fun with TruthQuest History.This month, we studied how castles were built (have you seen this video?), the Battle of Hastings (I never enjoyed the Bayeux Tapestry so much!) and the Tower of London (did you know it is really a castle?). Now we are on the Crusades. Very sobering. Quite timely {do we never learn?}.

Have I ever told you how much I love Signs&Seasons ? We have learned the difference between astronomy and astrology, the circuit of the sun, how to find the constellations of the zodiac, and the seasons of the night sky. The more we observe, the better we understand, too. This is the most practical science we have ever studied.

Writing

I was honored that Reb Bradley of Family Ministries allowed us to feature his article, Solving the Crisis in Homeschooling, as a week-long series. Also popular was my own confession of homeschool embarrassment, in Why Would You Want to Do That?

Other popular articles this month were the review of Revealing Arithmetic: Math Concepts from a Biblical Worldview, my discussion of Women in the Workplace, Feminism, and Secular Humanism (really, what do they have in common?) and my scary household-accident tale, Not the Bye-Bye Hand.

I am always surprised (but maybe I shouldn’t be) that every month, one of the top 10 articles viewed is still Home Educating in Biblical Truth. Nearly everyone has read it by now; have you?

How was your July?

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