Sunday, April 17, 2016

Year 3: Exploring Countries and Cultures, Zdrah-stu-it-eh Russia!

     We made our way to Russia!  My post title is the phonetic pronunciation of the formal way to say "Hello" in Russia.  It actually looks like this:  Здравствуйте. Nifty, yes? The pronunciation can be found here.
  No trip through Russia would be complete without reading about the Romanovs:

     I found this book through an author event over at Amongst Lovely Things.  Originally, I began reading it aloud to them but found it on CD so opted to give my voice some rest and let someone else do the reading.  Now, this is a pretty intense book, written for grades 7 and up and ages 12 and up, and some of the details are very graphic.  I knew my daughter would be able to handle it, but please pre-read it if you are going to use this as a read-aloud and there are young ones in your brood.  Otherwise, let the older ones read it for themselves.  It's such a sad and tragic story and the kids would go from being exasperated with the Romanvs to having pity for them.  It was a very well written book.

     Moving along with our trip, I gave the kids an art project that I found on Pinterest (Good ol' Pinterest!)  They had to recreate St. Basil's Cathedral:

     My daughter happened to be cold and chose to wear her jacket while working on her project.  How apropos for Russia!

     These were going into a notebook for the kids so in order to make it fit I had them create a picture of the cathedral at night  (against black paper) and during the day (against blue paper).  This took a lot of work and had to be completed over the course of the week.  There was a lot of coloring, then a lot of cutting and finally a lot of positioning and gluing.  The end result turned out great.

     This is my son's finished work:

     Here is my daughter's:

     Aren't they so colorful?  I showed them pictures of the actual cathedral online to help them determine how to color them.

     We're almost done.  Just a few more weeks and our third year of homeschooling is done!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Year 3: Exploring Countries and Cultures, Kon'nichiwa Japan!

     After some time off to celebrate Little Toughie's birthday we returned to Asia with a trip from China to Japan!

     We finished our reading on Gladys Aylward, which happened to be our last YWAM book for our school year.  The kids let out a consensus sigh of dismay but I assured them that on our bookshelves are more YWAM books that we'll get to read later in the year and that, of course, we would be purchasing more at the GHC in June.

     Our Japan study took a couple of unexpected but fun turns.  The first began with a hankering for a Matcha Green Tea Latte.  I don't drink coffee (too much caffeine for me.) but I will enjoy a cup of unsweetened Green Matcha Tea Latte every now and then (with almond milk).  We had an errand to run one morning and I decided to go to one of my favorite places to get my hot beverage.  While there we noticed a Sanrio sign on the building next to where the cafe was so we decided to make our way there.  Now, I don't think we were even supposed to be in the building since there was a pass key sensor at the front, but since we happened to be entering as others were leaving, the door was held open for us and we walked right in.  A kind gentleman directed us toward the Sanrio lobby where we were greeted with this:

     We were told to press the button near the speaker at the front door in order to speak with someone in the office.  I asked if we were allowed to schedule a tour or a meeting with some of the employees that worked there to perhaps learn more about the origins of Sanrio or the creative artists behind each character.  We were denied.  No one is allowed in but the employees, but we were free to peer into the glass bowl which featured some of their productions.  So, we did.

     That was a fun detour, plus I got my latte (which with green tea is Japanese-like).

     The other detour we took was writing Haiku.  We had read about it but I hadn't planned on having the kids do it since they had just made fans (pictured here hanging with our lanterns):

     However, we went for a walk and it seemed like the perfect Spring day as many flowers were in bloom and the kids kept pointing them out.  I suggested we take a few pictures of their favorite ones and when we got home they could write Haiku about it and then even illustrate it.  Here they are with their creative juices flowing:

     Here is my son's:

     Here is my daughter's:

     My Little Toughie also took this opportunity to make a card a thank you card for one of our neighbors.  I suggested she make a Cherry Blossom tree and she loved the idea.  Here is what she made using water color paints and markers:

     I used to make handmade greeting cards so I and my kids have personalized rubber stamps with our names on it.  That little rubber stamp on the bottom corner belongs to my daughter.  It's typically stamped on the bottom back of the card, much like logos you would see on a store bought greeting card.  Hers says "from my heart and hands" and then has her name.

     Last, but definitely not least and because we appreciate and love the food of  many cultures; we couldn't end our study of Japan without some sushi!  Now, it took my husband and I awhile to find a great sushi place with decent prices.  Everything we found was pretty pricey or had mediocre reviews.  We finally found a place fairly close by and with okay prices (Cheap sushi is not the way to go anyway; you get what you pay for which might be a stomach ache!)

     My daughter ordered the kid's boat:

     I love the sashimi lollipop that comes with it:

     Below was on of my favorites, a spicy tuna with salmon:

     I think this one was a California roll topped with sauteed asparagus and shrimp:

     It was all very good.  We don't eat it often (again, pretty expensive) but it was delicious meal well worth the price.

     That's it for now.  See you in Russia!