Tag Archives: home school


Over the course of the last several months, we prayerfully made the decision to send the two older boys, Imanuel and Micah, to our local Adventist junior academy.  It is called Greater Lansing Adventist School.  We are very pleased with our decision and the boys are loving it.  Imanuel’s teacher is Heidi Hunt and Micah’s teacher is Julia Robinson.  The principal is an excellent educator and Christian, Judy Shull.  We praise God for this school and for their dedication to Adventism and education.

Their first day of school was August 19, 2014.  Here are some pics from that day and also some pics of what Ty did that day.



IMG_4650  IMG_4651

Meanwhile back at home with Mama…


And Ty gets his first golf lesson from Grandpa on the green.  😉


Changes at the Ramos School for Boys

There have been some changes made at the Ramos School for Boys.  We’ve relocated our school room from a smaller room to the main open area upstairs.  They boys are actually glad about the change because the previous school room has now become their toy room.  According to them, the smaller play room is a lot easier to clean up than the big open area.  Basic rules are that no toys are allowed in this area and that it must always be kept clean.  This school doesn’t have a paid custodian!

Books & educational school supplies

Word wall, maps, writing/coloring drawers, and a futon for the teacher to take naps

Reading & cat observation corner

Student desks.  We’re at full student capacity:  3
Students hard at work (disregard their PJs)

One thing I love about being a teacher & homeschool mom is that many of the gifts the boys receive are educational.  For Christmas, the boys got 2 awesome science kits and an ant farm, and just recently, they got another two science kits.  I’ve been trying to space the experiments out to make them last as long as possible.  They’ve been having way too much fun in science!

Crystal Mining Kit
Making Volcanoes

Making Fruit Batteries using different variables
Ty’s limes & Micah’s apples worked!

Manu’s potatoes, not so much.

You can always count on Mexican soda. 

The longer we’ve been doing this, the easier it seems to be getting.  Imanuel and I have been doing so much better in keeping with our school routine.  Initially, we were inconsistent and it was difficult to get things going.  But now, it is getting so much more fun and exciting and he is really motivated to learn.  He is also able to work more independently so for certain subjects, he can just read the instructions and start them off on his own.  It is such a miracle to watch children learn and grow.People have often asked me how long I plan to homeschool.  It is a question that I think about often, but the answer is quite simple.  If I know my boys will receive an overall education at some place better than the one they are receiving at home with me, I will send them.  You can be certain that I’m not willing to relinquish my role that easily, yet, I am praying even now, that the Lord has a godly teacher out there that is even more committed than myself who will be able to take my children even further than I ever could.  I now see how much it takes for a parent to entrust their precious children to a teacher.  If you are a godly teacher, I am accepting CVs and applications.  Send them to principal@ramosschoolforboys.edu. 

Our Bird Breeding Grounds

Since the weather has warmed up, we have been doing a lot of yard work outdoors.  Most of the property was overgrown for over a decade and it’s been a huge task of trimming, pruning, and clearing.  My parents have been coming nearly every week and thanks to their hard work, things are really taking shape!  It has been amazing to see the transformation.  We have discovered so many little treasurers throughout the property.  The more we work, the more we are able to uncover what it must have looked like years ago.  As I was describing the yard to my sister, she said it reminded her of The Secret Garden.  It totally does…except there is no crying crippled boy locked up in a room.  But in many ways, spending time working in the yard is therapeutic.  It is mentally healing to be outside in nature and bringing order to the chaos.  I just love it.

The past few days, I have made it my mission to trim the pine trees by the side and front of the house.  I bought myself a brand new handsaw from a garage sale for $2 (since Israel doesn’t like me using the chainsaw) and I’ve been sawing away at the pines.  In the process, I’ve discovered 3 new bird nests!  Israel found one the other day, of all places, in our trailer.  So, the boys and I have been observing 4 nests and watching their progress from day to day.  We also enjoy watching and hearing the different species of birds that come to our feeders.  I seriously feel like we live at a bird sanctuary.  They are just everywhere so it probably isn’t safe to stand under any of our trees.  🙂

The first robin babies we saw (and I wrote a blog about), ended up being a heart breaker.  A couple days after hatching, the 3 chicks were gone.  It was very sad.  The nest was just too exposed and close to the ground.  The nests we are following now are in much better locations so we’re more hopeful.

To incorporate this as part of school, I’m having Manu and Micah make a nest observation picture journal.  I’m also trying to tie in as many object lessons as I can think of.  It is such an amazing experience and in the boys’ minds, I want it to be associated with spiritual and practical lessons that they will never forget.

Bird Nest #1:      
Israel found a red-winged black bird’s nest in the closet of our trailer, Bonnie.  When this mama bird was searching for a nesting place, she found a bonanza.  Literally.

There she is flying out of the door of her nest – the hole for the power cord.  It leads into a closet in the trailer.

This is an enormous nest.  She decided to take advantage of all the room.

5 precious eggs that are in a super-safe place.  Predators don’t have a chance as long as we keep the doors closed.  Only dilemma is whether these baby birds will fledge before we need to take the trailer to campmeeting!  We are hoping they will hatch tout-suite and get this party started.

Bird Nest #2: 
As I was sawing off a fairly large branch of a tree, I heard really loud flapping and it scared me.  I jumped away from the noise, and then I saw a mourning dove hopping around with its wing extended.  It totally looked injured, and for a minute I thought it was.  It was very convincing.  Until I had a thought that it must have babies nearby!  As much as I know how stressed that bird was, it was exciting to see a “broken-wing feign” live.  As I looked around the tree, I was in for a treat.  Two fairly large mourning dove chicks were sitting in a nest right above my head.  I knew they would be fledging soon.  They could barely fit in the nest.

Today when we went to check on them, they were gone.  The nest was empty except for a ton of droppings.  I think I can say with confidence that they have fledged! 

Bird Nest #3:
While I was trimming the trees where the doves were, I discovered that there were metal wires wrapped around each of them.  From the looks of it, you can tell it had been years because the trunk had tried to grow around the wire.  It was totally choking the trees!  I had to pry them open with pliers and it wasn’t an easy task.  I was trying to save the last poor tree, when I looked right below the wire and saw a nest with 3 perfect robin eggs in it.  Unfortunately, a couple days later, the egg count was down to 2.  But today when we checked on them, there was a hatchling in the nest and the second egg was cracked!  It was time!

Bird Nest #4:
Yesterday, we discovered this nest.  The pine trees by our mailbox were so overgrown so I was trimming the bottom of the trunk when I heard a bird take flight very close to where I was.  I looked around, and to my amazement, there was another robin’s nest with 2 eggs and a new hatchling!  I’m sure it had hatched that same day.  We, once again, had to postpone this trimming mission until after the babies fledge.  But, I don’t mind.  🙂

Mama Robin faithfully sitting on her nest. 

I’m sure there are dozens of other bird nests in our backyard that we just can’t see.  But I’m so thankful that we’ve found these four that are low enough so we can quietly watch from afar.  I just can’t imagine how many bird nests, animal homes, and babies are destroyed when entire forests are taken down…especially in the spring.  Well, we are looking forward to watching the progress of each bird family as time goes on.  So many lessons to be learned.  We are praying for special protection on these families. 

This post is definitely to be continued…!

The Case of the Stolen Train

Micah checked out a couple of books from the library on police officers that we read to them.  For school, I had planned on having a mini music lesson because Manu wanted to learn how to play the harmonica, but then Micah begged to learn about police officers.  In fact, this morning, he came into our bedroom dressed (as far as he was concerned) just like a mounted police officer (one on horseback).  So, I told them that we’d do both.  After our normal school routine, I taught them some basic music theory and then it was time to learn about the police.  One of the books had a small section in the back about fingerprinting and what detectives do.  It was quite clear that today the boys would be police detectives.

Here’s the plot:  In the early morning, someone had passed security and managed to steal a train from the Ramos Train Station.  They weren’t sure who it was, but one thing was for sure.  There were lots of fingerprints left behind.  The crook obviously was an amateur and didn’t wear gloves.  Detectives Manu and Micah were on the case.  They arrived to the crime scene and began dusting the fingerprints (with baby powder and their mom’s cosmetic brush).  One brushed the prints while the other repeatedly relayed through their radios, “There’s too much baby powder!”

They transferred the clearest print (using scotch tape) and began to narrow down the suspects. 

In this court system, you’re guilty until proven innocent.  We all turned ourselves in and got fingerprinted. 

First suspect:  Imanuel Alexander Ramos.  Detective Micah took his prints.

Next suspect:  Micah Christian Ramos.  Detective Manu took his prints.

Finally, Mama was the last suspect, but it seemed highly unlikely.  Why would she steal a train that she herself bought?  Was that even technically stealing?  The boys analyzed the data and compared all of the fingerprints.

The evidence was quite clear according to the detectives.  The print matched identically to that of Mama Ramos.  They couldn’t decide whether to handcuff me or not as they took me to jail.  Detective Micah insisted that we didn’t have to handcuff.  Then, as they were about to lock me up, once again Detective Micah erred on the side of grace and said, “Okay, we’ll give you one more chance!”  Detective Manu concurred.  In fact, they told me they’d give me one hundred more chances!  I don’t see a very bright future ahead of them in the field of justice.  But, it was fun pretending for a day!

Worm Sounds & Snacking Ants

Today for school, the older boys and I did 2 science experiments using a great book we checked out from the library.  It’s called Backyard Science

The first experiment was called “Worm Sounds”.  We took a large worm from our worm farm, put it on a piece of aluminum foil, and listened to the sounds of its setae (- the bristle-like parts of the worm used to grasp) as it crawled around.  We used a paper cone to help us hear better. 

They never knew we could “hear” worms crawling, or that they had the bristle-like structures on their body.  Had to go indoors for this one since Grandpa Lewis was mowing his lawn next door.  We needed it to be quiet to hear.  Memorable moment was when the worm decided to defecate on Imanuel’s hand.  To make things less uncomfortable, I shared how that is great fertilizer and the reason why we have a worm farm.  He is such a good sport, that boy.

The other experiment was called “Ants on a Log”, except it didn’t have to do with the snack kids like to eat.  It was about what snacks ants like to eat.  The boys had lots of fun choosing what types of food to use in this experiment.  Here’s what they decided:

Small pieces of Veggie Meat, Tostada, Fruit Snack, Lettuce, Chocolate, Pistachio, Cheese, and Garlic were their offerings.

At first, we had a hard time attracting the ants.  We placed the plate next to an ant home, but every time an ant would come onto the plate, it seemed that it would always happen upon the garlic first and then flee for dear life.  We learned early on that they DO NOT like garlic.  We waited a couple hours and when we came back, we were in for a surprise.  The ants were throwing down!  First things we noticed the ants were going after were the lettuce and the pistachio.  After those were nearly exhausted, they were gorging themselves on the veggie meat.  They hardly touched the tostada, cheese, fruit snack and chocolate.  Oh, and of course they stayed away from the garlic.  We left the plate out over night and we’ll see if they ended up gathering the rest of the food eventually.  But it was clear what they preferred to take first from our ant buffet.

The boys were surprised with the results.  First of all, they totally thought they were doing the ants a favor by giving them the pieces of fruit snack and chocolate.  They couldn’t fathom how the ants would not take full advantage of the free sugar.  Secondly, we watched one ant drag a huge chunk of pistachio clear across the plate to its home.  That was pretty amazing.  So, the conclusion was that ants not only are crazy hard workers, but they are also healthy!  I, personally, was inspired by their self-control and temperance.  I guess there is a reason why they are so strong. 

We targeted the ants that reside under the rocks in our front yard.

Micah is following an ant that was carrying an enormous leaf.

After 2 hours 

**New Photo** : The Next Morning – They were still hard at work!

We had lots of fun learning today.  The next couple of weeks, we’ll be doing more of the science projects/experiments from the book.  I appreciate how it uses basic household supplies and incorporates backyard nature.  Super-fun and super-easy.  And I love having school outdoors!

Science Experiment Week

Last week at the Ramos School for Boys, we spent school time doing science experiments from a science kit that we bought for Manu’s birthday.  We suspended our normal school routine to focus on science and more specifically how to conduct experiments to learn more about the amazing handiwork of God. 

We completed a series of 9 experiments throughout this week that dealt mainly with color, light, and dissolving/absorption.  The boys learned how to gather materials, read through procedures, make proper hypotheses, gather data, then come up with conclusions.  They were so excited to be scientists this past week.  I must add, I was very impressed with their work.

Here were some of their hypotheses:

“If we put a color tab in hot and cold water, then they will dissolve the same.”
“If we add 2 ml of red water and 2 ml of blue water, then the water will turn blue.”
“If we put the tabs inside the water, then it will turn into a rainbow.”
“If we add liquid soap to the soymilk, then there will be BIG bubbles.”

“If we add 4 ml of yellow water with 2 ml of blue water, then it will turn yellow again.”
“If we try the 24 color mixing challenge, then we can do it!”
“If put a color tab in hot water and cold water, then the one in the hot water will not dissolve.”
“If we put the 3 color tabs (primary colors) in the soymilk, then they will dissolve and turn it brown.”

So, as you can see, we did a lot of learning and there were plenty of surprises with the experiments. 

Our main materials

Dissolving color tabs in water and watching them fizz!

Mixing 2ml of 2 primary colors and making 4ml of secondary colors!

Mixing secondary colors together to make brown.

24 Color Mixing Challenge!

Growing colorful soft-watery crystals.

After an hour and a half, they grew nearly 10 times their size!

Observing through their magnifiers.

After a few days, we waited for all of the water to evaporate from the crystals and they shrunk back to original size, but they stayed colorful!

Learning how heat affects the rate of dissolving. 

Dissolving the color tabs in room temp soymilk and then seeing what happens when liquid soap is introduced. 
They loved the reaction that took place!  (Daddy was the most excited about this one.)

My students who now think God is even more amazing than before. 

This would make our Science Experiment Week a smashing success.

The First Days of School

So, I have been pretty indecisive whether or not I wanted to start home schooling with Imanuel.  He showed interest in learning and he has always loved to read, but I wasn’t sure about structuring the learning in more of a school-style format.  Well, it got to the point in our lives where it seemed like the days were just crawling by.  We would go through our daily routine, but particularly with Imanuel, he seemed to be getting bored and constantly itching for something else to do.  When I brought up the idea of starting school, both Imanuel and Micah were ecstatic.  So, last week, on Monday, January 23rd, 2012, we officially began.  They each chose a backpack for their school books and supplies and we were ready to go.  When Ty goes down for his nap, school begins.

I haven’t purchased anything since deciding to start school.  I decided to utilize all of the pre-K/K books, workbooks, stickerbooks, coloring books, and flashcards that we have accumulated over the years.  I dug out all of my teaching supplies that I previously had, as well as a stash that I had been collecting over the past years specifically for teaching my boys.  I came up with a basic learning curriculum to start off with.  We set an alarm for one hour and within that hour, we have a short worship, learning/assignment time, flashcard time, craft time, and then we close with prayer.

After the hour of school, it is snack and story time.  They are listening through The Bible Stories on CD.  That was one of the best investments we have made for them.  After that, they are ready to play.  🙂

I am so proud of how much they have learned so far.  It really is amazing to see how sharp their minds are.  Just a week and a half ago, Manu didn’t know how to read at all.  But today, he has learned to read over 20 sight words.  A couple nights ago, he read his first few board books by sounding out the words.  Micah came into school not knowing how to color.  Seriously.  But he has really improved in staying within the lines.  His proudest accomplishment has been learning to identify both capital and lowercase letters. 

So far, they really seem to be enjoying this time together.  They help each other by encouraging one another.  When one of them does something amazing, they give a “squeegie-like-a-luigi” (which translates to a big bear hug where both end up on the floor).  Micah made that one up.  It’s lots of fun. 

It has been really fun getting back into teaching.  It is so different from teaching my upper elementary/middle school kids.  But it is still a fun challenge and the satisfaction of seeing your students learn remains the same.  I’m thankful that I spent those years as a teacher by profession.  It provides lots of ideas and resources that I can utilize now.  The limited one hour time frame gives me motivation to prepare a solid, fun, and challenging school session from start to finish.  Hopefully as time goes on, I will be able to maintain the same quality of teaching for a longer period of time.  I pray that God will continue to grant me patience and motivation to be the best teacher I can be for them.     

Here are pictures of our first days of school:
(FYI, we do school in our PJs.  🙂

Happy Groundhog Day!!!