Friday’s Factoid 30 (by Titus, Joel, and Mom)

Dark Matter isn’t like anything else. It can pass through us. It is invisible and it is everywhere. Scientists are trying to capture it in a bottle (by Titus, 9).

The galaxies are all spinning too fast and should all fall apart but Dark Matter holds them together and Dark Energy makes them get farther and farther apart (Joel, 7 1/2).

We have spent almost the entire school year studying the visible universe. This week we turned our attention to the other 96%, the part of the universe we can’t see and the most mysterious substances of all: Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Dark Matter acts as an invisible framework that holds the visible properties of the universe in place. Dark Energy seems to be working against gravity to stretch the universe out at a faster and faster rate. We’re posting the first part in a series put out by the History Channel on these amazing new discoveries. I highly recommend looking up the rest of this series. As you watch keep in mind 2 of our memory verses from this year: “I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” (Isaiah 45:12) and “By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16,17).

My Token Post on Homeschool Socialization

Last Friday I mentioned that our boys were too busy socializing to get any schoolwork done. I decided this was a topic worthy of it’s own post since this blog is to be a record of our school year and the most important aspect of any education is, according to some, socialization. At least that is what comes across through most of the conversations we have with people who disagree with our particular method of educating.
The fact is, years ago before we had even started homeschooling, I had very clear ideas of how I thought my kids ought to be socialized. We lived in a very nice suburban neighborhood across the street from my sister, whose children I considered very appropriate influences for my own and we attended a church where all the other families either homeschooled or were planning to, just like we were. God in His providence moved us away from that seeming utopia to a little cabin in the woods surrounded by nothing but mountainous forest terrain and wild creatures of every kind. Here, there was nothing to influence our impressionable boys but wild animals and the weather. I actually considered this an improvement to our former conservative, Christian suburbia.
Our next move kept us in the mountains but this time we were smack dab in the middle of a Christian camp right next to the chapel where we were lullabied to sleep by live worship music every night. Now this was a slice of heaven, I thought. The best of both worlds. Surrounded by natural beauty AND God’s people at every turn. I really couldn’t think of a better environment to raise children in and I was frankly, quite proud of myself for having discovered it.
So the Lord decided to humble me by promptly plucking us up and putting us down in the very last place on earth I would ever deem fit to raise up God-fearing, flag-waving, self-reliant mountain men: an ocean-front resort community on the Big Island of Hawaii. Not another Christian in sight from our third-floor, golf-course-view condo. But we do have a small view of the ocean. And the ruins of a heathen temple formerly used for human sacrifices. Not exactly family friendly digs, but surely 9 months of this couldn’t damage them permanently. Fast forward 2 years and yes, we’re still here. And yes, I’ve been humbled (at least in this regard). And yes, my boys are absolutely thriving in a situation I never would have chosen to place them in.
Now about that socialization thing. As soon as we arrived we found a nice, healthy, family-oriented, AWANA-hosting, Bible-believing church and figured we had the social thing settled. But the Lord soon showed us, that as comfortable as we were, this was not to be our crowd. Instead He led us to the oldest church in Hawaii. And I don’t mean “oldest” because 99% of the congregants had grey hair, which they do, I mean “oldest” because this literally was the church that the first missionaries who arrived to the islands planted by permission of the king almost 200 years prior on that very spot. So there our boys sit, Sunday after Sunday, the only children in the building, singing hymns and reciting liturgy alongside these dear, grey-headed saints. Again, not most parent’s ideal social setting for little ones.
Which brings us to Friday and our boys being too busy “socializing” to get their school work done. Our oldest son, Titus, had a play date at the tennis courts. He plays doubles there Mon., Wed., and Friday mornings with some of his buddies that live here in our condo complex. One of Ti’s favorites is Al, with whom he shares a birthday. They are exactly 90 years apart to the day. Bob is 92, Tim is in his 70’s and recently widowed, and Phil, who tragically lost his own son at a young age, is about 60. The great thing about Tim and Phil is they aren’t just good for a tennis match, they like to play everything: catch, soccer, badminton, golf, whatever the boys are up for. They’ve even shown up at the boys’ hockey games (Yes, like many homeschoolers they also participate in a team sport). Tim also hosts awesome beach bonfires and puts on the best fireworks shows ever. There are other great friends around here, too, like Dick, the retired helicopter pilot who’s a pro at teasing and Shirley, their adopted great-grandma who keeps her fridge stocked with treats just for their visits. These are just some of our neighbors and friends. They are the people our boys interact with every day and because they are all retired and mostly all alone they have a lot of time and attention to spare.
But lest you think our poor boys have been assigned solely to the geriatric section of society know this: while Ti was playing tennis with the “old guys” the other boys were enjoying some pool time with their friend, Sei, and the day before Ti and Joel were playing doubles with 2 boys from France. And the week before it was soccer every day with Bailey from Washington. And the week before that it was football every day with Alexi from Russia. And the week before that Joel was begging me to teach him more German so he could talk to some kids visiting from Germany. We are surrounded by vacation rentals so every week there are new kids coming and going from all over the world. The only two other families that live here full time are Japanese and have one boy each which brings the boy count around our place on any given day to 6. This makes for about as lively and vibrant a social setting as any mom can tolerate.
So through these rather unusual circumstances this is what I’ve learned about homeschool socialization. The real fact of the matter is this: God loves my kids even more than I do and only He knows the plans in store for them and the experiences that will best prepare them for their life’s work. My goal can’t be to make them like a particular “brand” of person by socializing them with people who are exactly like I want them to be. My goal has to be to be pliable enough for God to use as He makes them more and more like who He wants them to be. Any kind of socialization is a failure if it doesn’t serve to make our kids more like Christ.

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And Z is for…

Our last Weekly Memory Verse: Z is for…
“Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgements, O Lord. For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.” -Psalm 97:8

Hymn of the Week: “Children of the Heavenly Father” (Carolina Sandell Berg)

Children of the heavenly Father safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in heaven such a refuge e’re was given.

God His own doth tend and nourish; In His holy courts they flourish.
From all evil evil things He spares them; In His mighty arms He bears them.

Neither life nor death shall ever from the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth, and their sorrows all He knoweth.

Though He giveth or He taketh, God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely to preserve them pure and holy.

Friday’s Factoid 29

Here is the last installment of our Zodiac rhyme. Once again it’s just me, the teacher, as the boys were far too busy SOCIALIZING this morning to get any school-work done (Hmmm, that might be worthy of it’s own post). To see the previous 2 installments click here and here.

Next comes charging the TAURUS bull,
Breathing wrath and powerful,
Vengeful gaze from horned head,
He comes to judge the quick and dead.
Two twins united in starry form,
GEMINI breeds the perfect storm,
Of Princely Judge come to rule,
And suffering servant with warrior’s tool.
CANCER represents a fold,
A circling-in, a safe stronghold,
When all God’s people shall be gathered in,
To rest securely in our shepherds pen.
As written in the Good Book’s end,
The Lion of Judah returns again.
LEO destroys the dreaded snake,
Then ascends on high His throne to take.

Snorkel Under the Stars

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Just past the condo complex we live in is one of the most popular snorkeling spots on the Big Island. On any given day the beach there will be packed with hundreds of people getting there first glimpses of sea turtles, eels, crabs and a hundred kinds of brightly colored tropical fish. All our boys have learned to snorkel there and every time they go they see something different. Lately though, they’ve figured out that the dark hours of the night are not just for sleeping and stargazing, they are for snorkeling, too. But for these starlit snorkel outings they head the opposite direction to another spot where the manta rays are known to congregate. These giant creatures have a “wing” span of 6-20 feet and feed on the plankton attracted by the spotlights of the snorkelers. For a small fortune you can pay to be taken out on a boat equipped with spotlights and snorkel gear right out to where the mantas are. Or if you are super adventurous, you can swim from shore through the dark (and Mom’s quite certain, shark infested) waters which is of course, the method my dear husband and our two oldest boys prefer. Last week, Joel came back from his first manta swim all excited because not only was there a big one circling all around him but the “water was full of twinkling lights,” too. No, the stars hadn’t fallen into the sea. He had just encountered a host of tiny, bioluminescent creatures. How awesome that our God chooses even the darkness of night to reveal his splendor, not just through the vastness of space but even to the depths of the sea. As this week’s memory verse beautifully states, “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them.” -Nehemiah 9:6

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Y is for…

This Week’s Memory Verse: Y is for…
“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them.” -Nehemiah 9:6

Hymn of the Week: “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” (James M. Black)
When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the Roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

Friday’s Factoid 28 (by Mom)

We had standardized testing all this week (as required by the state of Hawaii), plus 2 birthdays, and some late nights (will post on the Starlight Snorkel outing later!) so our week was a little off. I read the material aloud to the boys but decided to give them a break from the whole typing routine. Sorry to disappoint some of our followers (you know who you are, Omas and Opas), but today’s post is only from the teacher. So here are the next 4 stanzas of our homemade rhyme about the Zodiac signs as the ancient Hebrews would have understood them.

As a sacrifice Christ’s flesh was scourged,
but from His death New Life emerged.
CAPRICORN shows the goat now slain,
and the fish, His church, the Living Gain.
From the stricken Rock fresh water burst,
to quench the desert wanderers’ thirst.
AQUARIUS shows the stricken Man,
Those who drink of Him shall not thirst again.
Two fish by cord are captive bound,
just as the Israelites were found.
Like PISCES all God’s children yearn
for their Redeemer’s quick return.
ARIES represents the Lamb,
Worthily called The Great I Am.
Slain for us but exalted high,
A faithful witness in the sky.

(An interesting note on Aries taken from Fleming’s book, “God’s Voice in the Stars”):
“About the time of the exodus of Israel from Egypt, the sun entered Aries on the fourteenth day of the Jewish month of Nissan. This was the day on which the Israelites were ordered to slay a lamb and sprinkle its blood on the lintel and doorposts of their houses. In the course of almost fifteen hundred years, and due to the precession of the equinoxes, the sun receded further into the sign of Aries. By the fourteenth day of Nissan in the year AD 30 (the probable date of Christ’s crucifixion), the sun stood in the head of Aries near the stars Elnath (The Wounded) and Sheretan (The Bruised).”
The author points out that due to the darkening of the sky at the time of Christ’s death those who looked for the sun would have seen these two stars instead which had been stood as prophetic witness to this very hour for millennia. Here are some more star meanings from Fleming’s book.

Constellation Crunchies

Found these star-shaped tater-tots at Target for 3 bucks and just had to put them to use. The boys had been drawing the basic outline of the 12 main Zodiac signs on index cards already so I had them copy their drawings using the star-tots and ketchup on a plate. Nothing like being able to eat your own homework!

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X is for…

This Week’s Memory Verse: X is for…
“eXalt the Lord our God; worship at His footstool! Holy is He!” Psalm 99:5

Hymn of the Week: “Jesus Shall Reign” (Isaac Watts)

Jesus shall reign where e’er the sun Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom spread from shore to shore, Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

From north to south the nations meet To pay their homage at His feet;
While western empires won their Lord, and eastern lands attend His word.

To Him shall endless prayer be made, and endless praises crown His head;
His name like sweet perfume shall rise With every morning sacrifice.

People and realms of every tongue Dwell on His love with sweetest song,
And infant voices shall proclaim Their early blessings on His name.