Tuesday, November 22, 2011

30 Days of Giving Thanks - Day 19-22 - Educators and Parents

Day 19 - Saturday - Volunteers at the Waldorf School's Holiday Event

The girls enjoyed learning how to make beeswax luminaries with a volunteer at the Waldorf School. He patiently explained how to dip the water balloon several times in the wax, how to apply the greenery, and then re-dip the balloon several times to create the luminary.

Olivia making a beeswax luminary with a volunteer
at the Waldorf School.

At home, we put battery-operated tea lights into the luminaries so that they glow on the nature table without melting the wax.

Both the girls would like to make more luminaries after having the experience of making one at the holiday fair.

Day 20 - Sunday - Mom and Dad

I am so grateful to both my parents for many reasons. One of things that I am very thankful for is the opportunity to take trips with both of them and my daughters during the past couple of years - once my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.

All of Us by Lake Saganaga
Mom, Olivia, and Sophia in the front row.
Dad and me in the back row.
We're by Lake Saganaga on the Gunflint Trail.

Since he no longer could drive and my mom has not been able to drive in years, they would pay for a rental  minivan and we would take driving trips to different places. In this way, they could enjoy traveling and seeing places they've wanted to see; and the girls and I had opportunities to travel to places we normally wouldn't have had the chance to visit.

We were able to see the tulips in bloom in Pella, Iowa; the Shrine of the Lady of Guadalupe in Wisconsin; many Amish farms in Wisconsin; the National Eagle Center in Waconia (MN); Watkins in Winona, MN); and Grand Marais (MN).

The trip to Grand Marais and up the Gunflint Trail was the last trip we were able to take together.  The picture above shows that picture.

Today, on November 20th, I visited my dad at St. Therese (nursing home) and took my mom there as well. Although my dad was resting for most of the visit, he did wake up for parts of the visit, was able to say a few complete sentences, and enjoy some strawberry ice cream that I fed him.

Day 21 - Monday - Homeschool Co-op and Instructors

The girls have gone to a homeschool co-op for five years now and have enjoyed it. The variety of classes and experiences they've had there has enriched what I have taught them at home.

One of the girls' favorite teachers was Ms. Dawn who taught an American Girl class and American Heroes class. Sophia is pictured below on the right with Ms. Dawn. The girls are having a tea party during one of the classes.

American Girl Tea Party at Co-op
Sophia with Ms. Dawn and two other students
at a homeschool co-op class.
(This was taken four years ago
when Sophia was 6 years old.)

This year, Sophia is taking piano lessons, home economics/cooking, and sewing. Olivia is taking piano lessons, American Sign Language, and Music Fundamentals.  All the instructors put a lot of time into preparing for the classes and teaching the students.

Having different adults from whom the girls can learn makes homeschooling even more fun and gives them an opportunity to learn new information in a variety of ways.

Day 22 - Tuesday - Harp Instructor

Sophia has been taking harp lessons from Denise since the end of May, and enjoys playing two instruments now (she also plays the piano). 

Practicing the Harp
Sophia practicing the harp.

Denise has been encouraging and very supportive of Sophia as she has been learning to play a new instrument.

She challenges Sophia to try new pieces that may be difficult and beyond what she believes she can do.  However, once she learns the pieces, Sophia is proud of herself for staying focused and being able to add it to her repertoire.

Denise is working with Sophia to prepare her for her first performance on Christmas Eve at church. She will be playing a piece accompanied by the organist.  In preparation for it, Denise is trying to arrange for another opportunity to perform six days earlier at church during a prelude. 

Having someone help her with these first performances are critical to making Sophia comfortable with performing in the long-term. I am so grateful that Denise is helping Sophia learn to play the harp and share her talents with others.

1 comment:

Rita said...

I have never heard of those luminaries made with balloons and wax! What fun!

The trips with your folks are such precious memories! Life is fleeting. Change is inevitable. Lovely to have those joyful times.

I had also never heard of a homeschool co-op! What a fantastic idea! Perfect!

You have a beautiful family. Have a great weekend! :)