Monthly Archives: February 2009

In the market

So, we’re homeschooling and I’m in the market for a good 1st grade curriculum for this fall.  I’ve peiced together what I’m using right now to try to catch Fikadu up to speed through Kindergarden, but want something much more concrete for this fall.  I borrowed a fantastically wonderful book from the library called, “The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling.”  Basically your intro to homeschooling for dummies material.  It has been so insightful and resourceful that I am getting really excited about putting together lesson plans and such for this fall.  But I’ve never done this before so I’d like some input from those who have gone before. 

Here’s what I’m looking for:

1. Subjects: English, Math, Science, Social Studies/History, Bible. 

2.  What have you used and liked?  Does the curriculum you used carry through additional years?

3.  How are the lessons planned out?  Does it give you detailed plans for each day, or just basic overview of what you need to accomplish?

4.   Are you as the parent the main teacher or is it audio/visually based?

5.  What is the average cost involved in purchasing the curriculum you’re recommending?

6.  What am I forgetting to ask that I should ask about?  Basically what else would you like to tell me about your homeschool experience?



Filed under Homeschooling

Why I like this book. . .

I have been using the book, “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” for, you guessed it – teaching our child to read!  Big surprise there!  After just 3 1/2 weeks home and 13 lessons Fikadu knows letter sounds for s, r, m, t, d, long e, and short a.  He can sound out and read the following words: at, sat, mat, rat, sad, mad, me, see, seed, read, eat, seat, meat, meet, am, ram, sam.  Today he read three words in a row: see me eat.  I love it!  I think truly it is so rewarding to see a child learn to read. 

If you’re in the market for a great teaching resource I’ve enjoyed this book for a couple reasons. 

1.  The daily lessons are all planned out for you, they tell you exactly what to say to the child.

2.  Your book and the child’s book is the same.  You only buy the one book.

3.  It takes only 15 minutes or so a day.

I know there are many views regarding this book and the pros and cons to using it.  You can read all the reviews on  But I’m thinking it is going to be highly effective for Fikadu as an almost 7 year old with no prior reading or English experience.  I’ll have to see about getting a video up soon.  He tends to shy away or start goofing off everytime I try to record him reading.  I guess I’ll have to go covert!


Filed under Homeschooling

Some fun Singing

Also be sure to check out Fikadu’s face when he opens the freezer!  ha ha ha


Filed under Uncategorized

English Acquisition

After being home three weeks now our children have acquired quite the impressive set of English vocabulary.  They came knowing the following :

1.  Body parts in the song “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” 

2. Three classifications of animals: dog, cat, and horse (Fikadu also knew frog and all other reptiles fit in that category.)

3. Hello, Goodbye

4. I Love you

5. An interesting version of ABC’s that repeats letters l-z twice


We thought they’d have a little more then that.  Essentially we were told they had “survival” English skills which included the usual “I’m hungry, thirsty, hurt, or need to use the bathroom.”

But alas, they really didn’t know any of these and we quickly learned “Survival Amharic!”  For survival Amharic I highly recommend the book and cd, “Simple Amharic for Adoptive Families” by Amy Kendall.  It can be found for $30.00 at this link:

We’ve been impressed with how rapidly the kids have acquired additional English vocabulary though.  Fikadu especially is determined to speak as much English as possible, and is quick to interpret for Tigist, who is less determined.  It has been fun to watch the progression of language learning.  A few anomalies that have been particularly hilarious have surrounded the use of the word bus.

Fikadu has an absolute fascination with cars and is starting to learn that there are different types.  Ex: bus, van, truck, car, tractor, and so forth.  But instead of realizing that the name truck or bus is actually what the vehicle is called he is confusing it with being an adjective to “describe” a kind of car.  This has shown in his use of the word bus to describe anything big or long.  It was particularly humorous when he said, “Mommy, Kohnjo bus hair!”  Kohn-jo is the Amharic word for beautiful and what he was trying to articulate was that I had beautiful “long” hair!  Equally amusing was when we were homeschooling and going over shape memorization.  I was trying to differentiate between a rectangle and a square and Fikadu interrupted by saying, “Yes Mommy, rectangle is bus!”

These are the moments I hold onto and cherish.  Even though yesterday was a particularly long, whiny day, I continue to have this overwhelming love grow in my heart for these kids.  I don’t want to ever forget how special it is to have Bus Hair! =)


Filed under Adoption, Home

Pooping Butterflies

One of my absolute favorite lines from the movie “Horton Hears a Who” is when Horton’s little friends come running up to him with their pretend worlds on specks.  His friend Katy says, “In my world everyone is a pony, and they eat rainbows, and poop butterflies!” 

Well one benefit of adopting older children is skipping diaper changing and potty training.  Something Joshua and I are quick to rejoice about.  However, beware that you will in a small way pay your dues.  When internationally adopted children come home they have very thorough pediatric exams which include checking for intestinal parasites.  This is accomplished by sending the parents home with stool collection kits.  Over the course of the weekend we were required to collect three seperate samples from each child.  And I’m pretty sure that in my world they aren’t pooping butterflies!


Filed under Adoption

Milk. . . . . . does the body good!

In light of our children’s initial aversion to milk we instituted the idea of milk (and everything else they don’t like but we want them to eat) giving you big muscles.  So far its been widely effective! =)

Daddy has strong muscles

Mommy drinks milk

Fikadu's Muscles

Tigist's muscles


Filed under Uncategorized

A photo update

Playing dress-up:  Can you guess who they are???


Serious Surgery, errr uhm, Operation going on here!


Sticks are universally swords in the hands of a child!


Valentine’s Day at Great Falls National Park

Valentine's Day at Great Falls

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