Wednesday, February 25, 2009

February 25,2009: Greek playgroup

We went to the Greek-speaking playgroup again today, which was nice, but there isn't really a lot of Greek spoken there! The leader is English, married to a Cypriot, and she was taking care of a little boy who speaks Kurdish, but no Greek. Another mother is English-Cypriot and also goes to the playgroup on Tuesday (in English), so she of course also speaks English. One other English-Cypriot mother was there, but she's very, very quiet--and in any case, also speaks English. And one other mother is from the U.S. Then today there was a new mother there, and I was quite hopeful, especially when I discovered that she didn't speak English...but then I discovered that she didn't speak Greek, either, but Turkish. And an older lady who helps out is Armenian. That was the whole group today. Lots of very nice, friendly chatting, but virtually all in English.

I did take our Greek-English picture dictionary with me today, though, and got help in pronouncing most of the words starting with alpha, I'll maybe even remember a few of them. And I learned how to say "Helen is happy," which is a somewhat useful phrase, since she is happy most of the time. :-) (We had a few bad teething nights in a row this weekend, though...last night was the first good one in awhile, and sleep is SO nice!)

The best part is the singing. A Cypriot lady comes in to sing with the children, and she speaks Greek with them, too, in between and about the songs. It was encouraging to recognize several more words this week than last, and to be able to sing along on a few of the easier, repeating lines.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

February 21, 2009: Lukas and math

My six-year-old found out a few days ago that the upstairs neighbors have the DVD of "Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang", and all the children have been asking me to let them borrow it, and I kept saying "maybe..." This morning Lukas bounced into my room and the first thing he asked was when he could borrow Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. In exasperation, I said, "When you've finished your math book!" In less than five minutes, no joke, he had completed the last six pages of his math book, gotten dressed, and was out the door. So we watched a movie today. We'd all seen it before, but my husband and I especially enjoyed all the extra bits that DVD's have--interview with Dick Van Dyke, how the movie was made, etc.

Then this evening Lukas was bored and asked me what he should do, so I suggested starting his new math book. He got very excited--and did the first six lessons.

Since I date the children's written work (although I do usually eventually throw away workbooks), I could look back and see exactly how long it took Lukas to complete Earlybird Mathematics 2B: just over four months. However, I also counted how many DAYS he actually did something: only 20. We haven't exactly been consistant about math with him! Now that he's in Primary Mathematics 1A, maybe I'll do better at remembering that he's "officially" a first-grader. :-)

Friday, February 20, 2009

February 20, 2009: Keeping busy

It's been almost three weeks since I last posted, and everything is pretty much the same. We're enjoying the fruit, I'm enjoying the Greek yogurt, none of like any of the sweet stuff we've tried yet, it's been raining a lot (apparently more than it has for several years--makes us feel right at home!), I've started going to a Greek-speaking playgroup with Katie and Helen, I haven't gotten lost for a couple of weeks now...what else is there to report?

The one exciting piece of news is that we have found a house! We signed the rental agreement last week, have met with the owner's representative several times to negotiate what needs to be done in the house, and will hopefully get the keys next week. However, we can't really move in until our shipment from Germany comes, which is difficult to plan. Good news in that, though--our shipment finally did leave Germany on Tuesday, February 17th, a mere seven weeks after they picked it up. Now that it is actually on a ship and moving, the target date of February 28th shouldn't be too far off from reality.

Homeschooling-wise, I haven't been keeping any records for the last two months, but last night I sat down and wrote down everything "officially academic" that we had done, and I was quite surprised: I didn't think that even a whole week's worth had been accomplished, but Marie and Jacob had actually done three to four weeks' worth of Sonlight and an impressive amount of German and math, too for not having had anything at all organized. However, we haven't done science nor Spanish a single time, and Lukas hasn't done a whole lot of anything.

All have done plenty of learning, though! Sorting, packing, cleaning, spending time with friends, and finally saying goodbye took up the end of December and first half of January, and since arriving here, new experiences, new social contacts (I lived in Germany too long to use the word "friend" carelessly, but I do see a lot of potential!), looking at houses, learning about blunt-nosed vipers, playing in the Mediterranean, exploring side-streets and parks, different playgrounds, seeing lemons and blossoms on the same tree, picking oranges from the tree in the garden of the house we'll be moving into. And spending a lot of time together, which has been stressful at times, but in the last week I've been encouraged by some of the new cooperation I'm seeing among the children!

But now I need to get dressed and get the day going.